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COVID-19 outbreak at the Saginaw County Government Center delays lifting mask mandate until next month

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - Saginaw County Government Center employees will have to wear their masks a little while longer.

That’s after a recent COVID outbreak at the 70th District Court offices.

A recent COVID outbreak at the Saginaw Government Center means workers and any visitors won’t be able to remove their masks this month.

Wednesday was the planned date, until the outbreak was discovered among district court staff.

Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman talked about what measures besides the usual ones, are being taken to prevent future outbreaks.

“We also just recently - the Board of Commissioners approved up to 80 hours of PTO to any employee who is feeling sick - so they can stay home until they go get tested,” said Belleman.

Back in September employees were offered a $500 incentive to get vaccinated.

So far, around 300 staffers have showed proof of vaccination - at a cost of about $150,000 dollars.

That’s half of the approximately 600 full / part-time and temporary workers employed by the county.

Belleman expects more over the next couple of weeks - as the incentive expires at the end of the month.

“We’re excited about the number of employees that have participated to date. And we look forward to the others that will be either reporting or getting vaccinated until the end of October,” he said.

County workers said that they are not that concerned about the outbreak or mask extension.

“Well, I think it keeps everybody safe. It’s not a big deal. We wear it in the hallways and public areas and in my own office I can take it off,” said Liz Gooch, the Deputy Equilization Director

Employees are doing their part in stopping the spread.

“They have plexi-glass at all of our stations and at the counters when we handle with the customers. And they’ve supplied us with hand sanitizer and wipes to wipe everything down on a daily basis,” added Blanca Fulgencio, a county Legal Specialist.

Barring any additional COVID outbreaks, the mask mandate will be lifted Nov. 8.

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