Dakotas hospital CEO blasted masks as a 'symbolic issue' -- and is now out of a job: report
Kelby Krabbenhoft (screengrab).

The Dakotas have been some of the hardest hit states by coronavirus and now the region's largest medical system has a new leader.

"Kelby Krabbenhoft and Sanford Health have agreed to part ways, Sanford announced in a news release at about 5:45 p.m. today. Bill Gassen will replace Krabbenhoft as the president and chief executive officer of Sanford effective immediately. Gassen was the chief administrator officer for Sanford," KELO-TV reported Tuesday.

"Krabbenhoft last week wrote a letter to staff that caused a chain reaction. The letter included this statement about mask wearing during the pandemic: 'Masks have been a symbolic issue that frankly frustrates me.' He went on to write: 'The “on-again, off-again” behavior of mask use by the general population violates every notion of serious infectious management that I was trained to adhere to, so some of this is absurd,'" the network reported.

Krabbenhoft denies that his views on masks are why he's leaving, but the station noted his departure is earlier than expected. He has been CEO for over twenty years.