The LA County Department of Health is investigating reports of two COVID-19 deaths at a Commerce food processing facility, one of three counties that have been allowed to reopen after closing earlier this week for reporting failure. of coronavirus outbreaks, officials said Thursday.
Deaths were reported to Mission Foods Corp., which has had 49 employees tested positive for the virus, said the county health official in LA, Dr. Muntu Davis, at a conference Thursday.
The health department said one of the people who died was a County resident in LA, and the other lived outside the department’s jurisdiction.
The head of facility maintenance, 67-year-old Jose Roberto Alvarez, died of COVID-19 last week and it is believed he contracted the coronavirus at his job in Commerce, according to his daughter Alisha Alvarez, who said her family learned about the explosion at the facility through the media, and not from her father’s employer.
Mission Foods issued a statement saying they have implemented security measures “exceeding the requirements of health authorities”, including mandatory face masks and social distancing, the installation of plexiglass barriers and restricting the use of common areas.
“We have worked hard to keep our employees informed since the start of the pandemic in early March,” Regional Production Director at Mission Foods Paul de la O said in a statement.
The other two grocery stores that were ordered to close on Sunday are S&S Foods in Azusa and Golden State Foods Corp. in the city of industry, which had 60 and 47 coronavirus cases, respectively.
“In all three outbreaks, the employer failed to notify the Department of Public Health when three positive cases were identified among their employees,” Davis said, explaining that the department learned of the outbreaks from an anonymous complaint line.
The complaint line receives about 2,000 to 3,000 complaints a week, and the department is currently investigating more than 1,000 coronavirus outbreaks in the county, according to Davis.
In a statement to the media, Golden State Foods said it was reporting its COVID-19 cases to the “necessary authorities”, but said the LA County Department of Public Health did not communicate its reporting requirements to producers.
“This was merely a procedural matter about reporting, and LA Department of Public Health officials in LA were pleased with COVID-19’s comprehensive, preventive, operational GSF protocols. GSF has complied with all other state reporting requirements. “The LA county was the only exception for a period of days in July,” the statement said.
In response to questions about what the manufacturers were violating, Davis said, “The fact that they entered through anonymous advice means they were in violation of the protocols.”
The LA Times reports the department’s request to report when there are three known cases that have occurred since at least June 11th.
“This is part of the protocols, it’s not just about what you need instead of the facility itself, but it is also about sticking to reporting when needed so that we can help provide guidance and ensure that the rest of the workers to be safe after being identified within the workplace, “he said.
The health official said all three facilities were allowed to reopen this week after they provided the department with the information needed to evaluate and guide their response, and all will continue to receive unannounced inspections to ensure compliance with protocols.
“Businesses have a corporate and moral and social responsibility to their employees and the families of their employees to ensure a safe working environment,” he said.
Suggest a correction