Although Vernon is home to about 250 residents and almost 2,000 businesses, it has reported over 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from workers at nine industrial facilities located in the city. Most of these workers commute to work in Vernon from nearby heavily working-class Latinx populated communities. There is growing concern that the COVID-19 outbreaks at these industrial facilities may spread to adjacent cities. To ensure residents and workers in Vernon and nearby communities are protected from the coronavirus, today the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis directing pertinent state and county agencies to work closely with labor partners in order to come up with a plan on how to inform residents and workers in and near Vernon of COVID-19 resources.
“As we continue our path to recovery, it is important we protect our workers and vulnerable communities from potential exposure to the COVID-19,” said Supervisor Solis. “The economic fallout of this pandemic has hurt neighborhoods and residents in Vernon and in nearby cities. Ensuring worker protections is key to successfully re-opening our economy and is necessary in making sure our communities are safe. If we are to continue to effectively slow the spread of COVID-19, we need to make people aware of resources and services that will help them stay healthy.”
On May 26, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Solis directing health officials at the City of Vernon to work with County public health officials, the state, and with labor partners in order to prepare a report detailing how facilities with an outbreak can protect their employees and nearby communities.
Since then, Farmer John, the industrial facility with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, has installed clear plastic barriers between workers and has provided employees with further protections by installing sanitizing dispensers and providing workers with personnel protective equipment, including helmets and face shields.
Today’s motion instructs public health officials from Vernon and the County to work with CAL/OSHA and labor partners to identify strategies on how to inform workers and residents in Vernon, as well as those in surrounding communities, of important COVID-19 related resources. The motion also directs public health officials from Vernon and the County to work with CAL/OSHA on establishing a standardized notification protocol. The motion also calls for a 14-day report back with findings and recommendations.
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