With coronavirus surging, California workplaces come under greater scrutiny


With coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths hitting new records this week in California, officials are pushing for greater enforcement of workplace safety rules as a key step in slowing the spread.

Cases exploded beginning in June as the state rapidly reopened the economy and people went back to summer routines such as parties and other social gatherings. Community spread is occurring in many areas, but officials have been particularly concerned about workers getting sick at their jobs and then infecting others at home.

Latinos in L.A. County are now more than twice as likely as white residents to contract the novel coronavirus, and officials believe many of them get sick while doing essential work.

The county has seen outbreaks at food processing plants as well as manufacturing facilities such as garment factories. Los Angeles Apparel has had the worst coronavirus outbreak of any business in the county, with more than 300 of the factory’s roughly 1,800 employees testing positive. Four have died.

Health officials continue to emphasize that personal decisions are just as important as policies. Residents and business owners need to continue taking the steps necessary — including physical distancing, wearing face coverings and practicing good hand hygiene — to protect themselves, their customers and those around them.

“We’ll get to the other side of this soon enough, but it will, again, take all of us and all of our businesses to do it,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said Thursday.

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