L.A. complies with statewide protections and improvements for workers during pandemic

Story by Kimberly Hsueh and Katharine Florence
Staff Writers

Photo by Alicia Zhang
Staff Illustrator

L.A. County Department of Public Health and Pasadena Public Health Department announced multiple updates on the county and city’s coronavirus rates on Thursday, July 23. The following day, California Governor Gavin Newsom streamed live on all social media platforms to address the update and California’s ongoing plans to implement new safeguards for workers during the pandemic.

Newsom announced additional worker safeguards in order to strengthen preventative measures, employer education, and long-lasting worker protections. Several measures include ensuring that workers can isolate and quarantine when sick or exposed, providing safe temporary housing for coronavirus positive and exposed farmworkers, and building on a Public Awareness Campaign to educate employers, workers, and families. 

Along with these new safeguards, Newsom introduced slight changes to the employer safety handbooks. In hopes to simplify, clarify, and inform cities about the best practices for an outbreak, business compliance, and new testing criteria for employees, a new seven to ten-page handbook was released on Friday, July 24 that condenses important details on maintaining safe, clean work environments.

Newsom also plans to work on expanding worker protections, including introducing coronavirus paid sick leave, compensation for at-risk workers, strategic reinforcement of labor laws, and reporting of workplace outbreaks. 

“Those are the broad strokes of what we’ve been doing to help support our central workers, what we have done and been building on, [and] what we have done that are more targeted and focused,” Newsom said. “Certainly in the spirit of our times of collaboration with the legislature, we look forward to updating you on the progress and all those areas very soon.”

This week a total of 9,718 out of an estimate of 138,000 Californians tested positive, with 9,881 cases on a weekly average. Moreover, there has been a nine percent increase of hospitalizations and 11 percent increase in ICU admissions over the past two weeks. Currently, L.A. County is one of the 34 counties on the state’s monitoring list for over three days.

The City of South Pasadena’s coronavirus epidemic has surged to 205 cases and 23 deaths according to the L.A County Department of Public Health.

L.A. County has identified a total of 166,848 positive cases and 4,262 coronavirus-related deaths. Around 11,960 people, excluding the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, have been hospitalized as a result of the coronavirus. As of yesterday, the Pasadena Public Health Department has reported a total of 1,822 lab-confirmed cases, 20 new cases, 104 total coronavirus-associated deaths, one new death, and 323 hospitalizations. 

Despite the increasing numbers, the growth rate has been moderately decreasing, compared to past months. Newsom noted how it is essential for people to wear their masks and consider the importance of social distancing.

“I just encourage people [to] physically distance, wear their masks, do both, and you stay out of large crowds [where] you are very likely to significantly reduce the spread of this virus, including your own capacity to get it,” Newsom said. “As always, [you] can’t forget washing your hands, sanitation, which is foundational and fundamental to moving our efforts forward.”

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