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Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa speaks to the media at city hall in Toronto on April 24, 2019.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

Toronto’s top doctor, who played a central role in the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is stepping down.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, says her resignation takes effect on Dec. 31.

De Villa, who took on the role in 2017, says her decision to move on comes after months of reflection and discussions with her family.

She says she is ready to embark on the next chapter of her professional life, adding that she believes the city is in a good position to transition to a new medical officer of health now that things have stabilized after the pandemic.

De Villa says she expects the Toronto Board of Health will explain the next steps sometime soon.

The doctor’s regular news conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic made her the face of the city’s response.

She also eventually captured attention for her signature accessory after people noticed she wore a different scarf at every briefing. One of the scarves she wore in the early days of the pandemic was later temporarily displayed at Toronto City Hall.

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