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Health district director leaving

Western Tidewater Health District Director Dr. Todd Wagner will be leaving his position effective Dec. 1.

He has accepted the position of vice president of medical affairs at Bon Secours Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth. The Virginia Department of Health hasn’t announced who will be taking over in Western Tidewater, but Wagner said they will likely assign the director of another health district to serve in an interim capacity until someone is hired.

Wagner has led the Virginia Department of Health’s Western Tidewater district since Feb. 10, having assumed the director position roughly a month before Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, he’s advised the four localities that comprise the health district on their virus response efforts and served as the point of contact for numerous media outlets reporting on cases in the region.

“This position has been tremendously rewarding and I have been very honored to have served alongside the outstanding group of public health professionals both here in Western Tidewater and within VDH,” Wagner said.

During Franklin’s Nov. 9 City Council meeting, City Manager Amanda Jarratt informed the council members of Wagner’s impending departure and praised him for making time to visit the small city of 8,000 on the southern end of the district.

“We had an excellent relationship with him and he was so willing to come to Franklin,” Jarratt said. “I’ve never seen anything like that with our health department director in my time in the region, and so I really was very appreciative of his commitment to the city of Franklin. So hopefully … the individual that fills his shoes will have the same level of commitment to the region, because he was very, very present.”