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Wood Co. health commissioner aiming to reduce COVID-19 cases before leaving position

Health Commissioner Ben Batey is set to leave the department on July 24. Meanwhile, he is encouraging individual cities to explore mask mandate options.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Wood County has had a mask mandate in place since Friday when the county was deemed a level-three county by the Ohio Department of Health. And with Health Commissioner Ben Batey soon leaving the department, he's focused on getting the county in a better place sooner rather than later. 

"We've hit four indicators that have caused us to go to a level three. And so, what we would need to see is a downward trend of cases, rather than plateau or an upward trend," Batey said.

Right now, the health department is trying to identify problem spots, where they are consistently seeing people not obey the mask order. Although the mask mandate currently in effect could help lower case numbers, enforcing a mask mandate throughout the county is difficult. 

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"We obviously do not have the capability to try and enforce this for every city individual throughout the county," Batey said.

Batey is encouraging individual cities to explore mask mandate options. When a city has a set standard, the mandate can be easier to enforce and more consistent.

"But if a city can, just during this period of time, set a standard for themselves; I think it will make it easier for people just to recognize that when you're within their city, this is your requirement. And then that actually shows the law enforcement is going to be directly behind it," Batey said.

Batey's last day as health commissioner is next Friday. A replacement search is underway.