Originally Published on July 16, 2020
Public health inspectors are receiving 2,000 to 3,000 complaints each week about businesses not complying with the county’s rules, according to Los Angeles County’s health officer.
The most common violations include failures to wear proper face coverings and to regularly sanitize high-touch areas, Dr. Muntu Davis told reporters today. L.A. County’s health department has opened 52 outbreak investigations at restaurants and 47 at grocery stores, he said.
Davis also gave an update today on the coronavirus outbreak among workers at Los Angeles Apparel, the clothing company started by former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney.
Last week, it was reported that four workers had died from COVID-19, and the county has now confirmed 375 positive cases among L.A. Apparel’s 2,290 employees, according to Davis. The clothing company remains closed.
“This is the largest outbreak investigation that we have at this time,” he said.
Davis also mentioned the “concerning milestones” L.A. County has reached this week, including record highs for daily confirmed cases and hospitalizations. Deaths from COVID-19 rose sharply this week, with health officials reporting 73 new deaths on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that reinstating the strict stay-at-home order isn’t off the table.
The reason behind the surge, Davis said: “We’re not seeing compliance that we need with the public health directives in place to keep people’s health and livelihoods safe.”
“Looking at the largest outbreaks that we are on our list, the ones with the highest numbers of coronavirus cases have occurred in food processing and distribution facilities — including meatpacking plants — manufacturing facilities, garment factories, and wholesale warehouses.”
People who work in those facilities are at higher risk, Davis explained, because of the large number of employees working long shifts indoors in close proximity with each other.
Davis did not provide details about enforcement, like how many businesses had been shut down, or if there are enough inspectors to follow through on the high volume of complaints pouring in.
The health department has a hotline for workers to report unsafe work conditions anonymously: 888-700-9995.
— RYAN FONSECA
This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2020 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.