Center County employees must wear a specific type of mask

Center County commissioners on Tuesday approved a revision to the masking policy for county employees; it now describes which masks can and cannot be worn.

The masking policy itself has been in place for some time, requiring employees to mask at all county facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy change states that employees will be required to wear a surgical, N95 or KN95 mask. Officials have had discussions about this change in recent meetings, saying research shows cloth masks don’t work as well as surgical, KN95, or N95 masks.

With that, the commissioners also unanimously approved the use of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding to purchase surgical masks; the cost will not exceed $2,000.

At last week’s commissioners’ meeting, Kristen Simkins, the county’s director of human resources, said the county could buy masks in bulk for about 8 cents a piece and provide each employee with a pack of masks for a term. four to five weeks. A delivery date for the masks was unknown at last week’s meeting, but “expedited delivery” was requested.

Commissioner Michael Pipe said at last week’s meeting that these masks will help provide a safe workplace.

“Unfortunately, cloth masks are not as effective as surgical masks. And in terms of washing cloth masks, it can take time. But just putting on another surgical mask will keep us all safe in the workplace, and again, just reduce the spread of Omicron as we see it spreading rapidly in the county and elsewhere,” Pipe said. .

The policy change comes after commissioners approved a policy requiring employees to be tested for COVID if they are not fully vaccinated against it.

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The Willowbank building in Bellefonte on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Abby Drey [email protected]

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Halie Kines reports on local government for the Center Daily Times. She grew up in Penns Valley and graduated from Penn State.

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