County to require businesses to notify employees of COVID-19 outbreaks at work

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 20:36:54-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County officials say they are taking additional steps regarding employers linked to outbreaks.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county will update its public health order to state "entities shall notify employees of an outbreak that occurred at a physical location where they work."

Fletcher added that the county believes most businesses are acting responsibly and notifying employees. He said that the county wants to make sure that employers are notifying every employee at the specific location an outbreak has been traced to, even if they may not have had close contact with a positive case.

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Those employees will then be given instructions suggesting the next steps to take.

The new order will be effective starting Thursday.

Wednesday, the county reported 24 active community outbreaks, which is more than three times the county's trigger of seven community outbreaks in a week.

The move was announced in addition to other measures to increase public health order compliance, including a compliance hotline and email, additional staff for egregious violations, outbreak inspections, and follow-up inspections.

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“We’re in the process of setting up a health compliance hotline and email access,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “We’re bringing on additional staff to increase our ability to respond to those egregious cases those willful, blatant violations.”

Fletcher said more information would be discussed at the County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

“The current compliance effort really focuses on number one, the egregious cases we’ve seen. These are willful, blatant situations of defiance of public health orders,” said Fletcher. “We’ve issued three public health orders for closures we’ve issued three cease and desist letters.”

San Diego County remains on the state’s watch list, meaning businesses were forced to close indoor operations due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks.

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While some moved operations outside, others failed to comply. County officials learned of a COVID-19 outbreak reported at The Gym in Pacific Beach this week. Last week, Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, sent a letter to The Gym asking for the immediate closure of indoor operations.

The Gym continued to operate in violation of state and local health orders, according to the letter. Also, patrons were not wearing facial covering or social distancing, and that did not appear to be a requirement by the owners or operators, according to the letter.

Wednesday, The Gym was closed to patrons.