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Savannah River Site mandates masks again as COVID-19 case rate rises in Aiken County

SRS Sign, New Ellenton, Downtown Aiken

A sign in downtown Aiken points toward New Ellenton and the Savannah River Site nearby. 

Masks are once again mandatory at the Savannah River Site. 

The SRS Infectious Disease Response Team issued a communication to site employees Friday that establish protocols requiring masks when social distancing is not possible beginning Monday. 

"The CSRA community is currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, much like the rest of the country," the communication says. "As of this week, the number of COVID-19 cases in our community (based on Aiken and Barnwell counties) have now reached the threshold to be considered at the Medium Community Level. Based on the current community level of Medium, the following protocols will be put into place at SRS, effective Monday, July 11, 2022." 

The latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that, as of July 7, Aiken County has a case rate of 218.88 per 100,000 people. Once cases rise above 200 per 100,000 people, the only categories available are medium and high.

Barnwell County remains at a low level of transmission. As of July 7, Barnwell County has 168.74 cases per 100,000 people. Other than the case rate, Aiken County meets the requirements for a low level of transmission.  

The communication specifically mentions masking when in vehicles including buses, government vehicles or personal vehicles and during meetings when social distancing is not possible. It also recommends maximizing the use of virtual meetings and considering space requirements to implement social distancing at meetings. 

Protocols that require testing if symptoms are shown remain in place. 

SRS employees have the ability to test at Augusta University Health System or given the opportunity to test with their own provider.

Contact tracing for positive tests is also mandatory. 

SRS previously issued communications requiring masks in June 2020 and July 2021. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions rescinded its mask mandate in March.