Board of Supervisors Green-Lights Innovative Solution in Fight Against Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Contact: Christian Castro
Communications Director, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
(310) 857-9817 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Votes Unanimously to Move Forward with Public Health Councils
(Los Angeles, CA) The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted earlier today to take the next step in establishing worker-led public health councils, excluding Pasadena and Long Beach, who have their own Public Health Departments.
“When public health guidelines are conscientiously implemented, lives are saved. When guidelines are not rigorously followed and enforced, it puts employees and customers, as well as their families and communities, at risk of sickness and even death,” said L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Health councils will strengthen our compliance system and allow concerned employees and community nonprofits to serve as additional ‘eyes and ears’ to help us contain the pandemic. We all need to pitch in to protect public safety and fight COVID-19.”
“Getting ahead of this pandemic is our collective responsibility,” said L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridgley-Thomas, who coauthored the motion. “The County of Los Angeles is committed to working hand in hand with employers and employees to keep COVID-19 out of workplaces and get us all back to business. This will require novel public-private partnerships that allow us to stay focused on saving livelihoods as well as lives.”
“We want to thank Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas for leading the charge and championing common sense solutions to one of the most devastating crises of our lifetimes,” said Rob Nothoff, Policy Director of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “Since the pandemic began, LA County has been averaging 40,000 cases and nearly 1,000 deaths every month, disproportionately wreaking havoc on Black and Latino families, as well as low-income families. Public health councils would help prevent new outbreaks by utilizing workers to be the eyes and ears within a workplace, and report any potential violation of County Health Officer Orders before they turn into an outbreak.”
The Department of Public Health will now develop the policy and implementation plan to be presented to the Board of Supervisors at the end of the month.
“We know that public health begins in the workplace and that workers know best about keeping their workplaces safe for the public,” said Roxana Tynan, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). “We applaud the Board of Supervisors taking a step toward establishing public health councils, which will make sure essential workers — who are largely people of color from the communities most impacted by Covid-19 — are centered in pandemic recovery.”
On Monday, August 31, community members held a memorial at the steps of the Board of Supervisors, honoring the over 5,700 lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and calling on the Board to support new policies, such as public health councils, to prevent more loss of life.
Los Angeles County continues to see an increase in hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 with 241,786 confirmed cases and 5,784 deaths as of Monday, August 31.
If passed, the public health councils legislation will be the first of its kind and continue the trend of progressive policies introduced by the County of Los Angeles.