COVID-19 outbreak among Saginaw County court staff leads to extended facemask requirement –

SAGINAW, MI — Staff and visitors planning to enter the Saginaw County Governmental Center in the next few weeks should keep their facemasks handy, officials say.

Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman said he was extending a facemask requirement inside the building until at least Monday, Nov. 8, in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus there.

The two-week policy was set to expire Wednesday, Oct. 13, but after officials last week identified an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff in the 70th District Court offices housed at the county headquarters, Belleman extended the rule by an additional month.

The initial policy was enacted after an outbreak in the prosecutor’s office, also located in the governmental center at 111 S. Michigan in Saginaw.

“If there are no new cases in the district court or new outbreaks, the mask requirement will expire on Nov. 8,” said Belleman, who consulted with Saginaw County Health Department officials when making the decision.

The governmental center houses the courthouse, prosecutor’s office, clerk’s headquarters, and a number of other often-visited county-operated facilities open to the public.

Saginaw County Sheriff’s deputies who secure the public entrance of the building will provide masks for people entering without such protection, he said.

County staff members are allowed to remove their facemasks if they are able to maintain social distancing in their office setting.

The mask policy went into effect Wednesday, Sept. 24, one day after the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners OK’d an incentive program that allows county employees to receive $500 for providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination before the end of this month.

The Saginaw County Governmental Center reopened to the public in June. The facility largely closed in November 2020 as officials instituted pandemic-related workplace safety rules and regulations.

The pandemic is not over, public health officials warn. While numbers fluctuate on a weekly basis, new cases of COVID-19 on a month-by-month basis have continued to rise in Saginaw County since July.

A statewide database tracking pandemic-related numbers reported there were an average of 67 daily new cases of COVID-19 reported in the county last week compared to 51 cases four weeks prior to that. Those figures were based on 7-day averages.

In total, 646 Saginaw County residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020. More than 25,200 cases have been discovered over that same period, Saginaw County Health Department officials report.


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COVID-19 outbreak in prosecutor’s office leads to mask policy at Saginaw County courthouse