Dr. Marty Fenstersheib was Santa Clara County’s top public health officer until 2013, when he retired after 29 years. He “re-retired” this week, after leading testing and vaccination programs for the past year.
Fenstersheib had come out of retirement to lead San Benito County’s public health department, but quit in May 2020 rather than agree to demands from the San Benito County Board of Supervisors to reopen the economy in the early months of the pandemic.
He rejoined the Santa Clara public health effort, and was tapped to be in charge of coronavirus testing. In that role, the county increased its testing effort from 1,000 tests per day to exceed the state's goal of more than 4,000 tests per day. He also oversaw the vaccine procurement effort and set up a comprehensive vaccination network. He would report that the county’s vaccination pace led all large counties in the U.S. The county reported more than 1 million Covid-19 tests in the first eight months of the pandemic.
Supervisor Joe Simitian, in a statement, called Fenstersheib an exemplary model of public service. “When I look at Marty Fenstersheib, what I see is the face of public service, and I think for anyone who wonders whether the notion of public service has come and gone as an American value, I would just ask them to take a look at Marty."