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Allegan County joins other Michigan counties in mandating masks for unvaccinated schoolchildren

Pharmacists typically wear surgical masks when preparing certain medicines — to keep the drugs sterile. But these masks, as well as of N95 respirators, are more often now going to front-line workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
Aleksandr Zubkov
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Pharmacists typically wear surgical masks when preparing certain medicines — to keep the drugs sterile. But these masks, as well as of N95 respirators, are more often now going to front-line workers caring for COVID-19 patients.

Allegan County has joined Genesee and Kalamazoo counties in mandating masks for schoolchildren who are too young to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

The Allegan County Health Department says the county has a high level of community transmission of COVID-19. Test positivity rates are around 12 percent. The department directive notes that the Delta variant of the virus is now dominant in Michigan, and it's significantly more contagious than the original form of COVID-19.

And, while the risk of severe disease is lower in children, the county health department says up to three and a half percent of COVID hospitalizations in some states are children.

The mask mandate applies to children in kindergarten through grade 6, and it will remain in place for six weeks after such time that a vaccine is made available to younger children.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.