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Rachel Levine testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Feb. 25. Photo: Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

Rachel Levine was sworn in on Tuesday as the admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, making her the nation's first openly transgender four-star officer, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The big picture: Levine, the assistant secretary for health, made history in March when she became the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

  • The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps responds to health emergencies on behalf of the federal government, including administering COVID-19 vaccines and responding to natural disasters, such as hurricanes.
  • Levine is also the organization's first female four-star admiral and the sixth four-star admiral in the history of the service, per the Washington Post.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What they're saying: In an interview, Levine said that her new position as an admiral was "not just symbolic," per the Post.

  • "I’m doing this because of my dedication to service … [and] with the utmost respect and honor for the uniform that I will be wearing," Levine said.
  • "Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward toward equality as a nation," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Go deeper: Rachel Levine becomes first transgender official confirmed by Senate

Go deeper

White House blasts Texas bill targeting trans youth in sports as "hateful"

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

A White House spokesperson on Tuesday condemned a Texas bill that would force public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, telling the Dallas Morning News the legislation is "hateful."

Why it matters: If passed, Texas would become the 10th state in the country to enact legislation banning transgender kids from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity, per NBC News.

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.