LA County health officials investigating a summer bump in workplace COVID infections

Denise Dador Image
Saturday, September 9, 2023
LA County investigating summer bump in workplace COVID infections
In the last 30 days, L.A. County health officials have investigated three times as many workplace outbreaks as the month before.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's been a spike in the number of COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Los Angeles County over the past month.

As more and more employees return to in-person work, it's not surprising there's been an increase. L.A. County health officials say the rise in cases remind us the risk of COVID infection is always present.

In the last 30 days, health officials have investigated three times as many workplace outbreaks as the month before.

"We've had 153 clusters reported from work sites," said Dr. Dawn Terashita, associate director of acute communicable disease control at L.A. County Public Health.

The sites range from city services to entertainment companies. While these confirmed cases of viral transmission at work are much lower this time compared to last year, they still bring disruptions to everyday life.

"Whenever people gather, it's a risk for any type of infection. So workplaces are going to be a place of transmission," Terashita said.

Job site clusters come at a time where more companies are asking employees to return to in-person work.

"Employers are required to provide masks for free," Terashita said. "They're required to provide tests for free, and they're required to notify exposed employees after they've been exposed."

While Cal/OSHA protocols can help mitigate spread, Terashita said people can make personal choices to protect themselves and their co-workers.

"It's time to dig out those masks that you had back during the pandemic and wear a mask while you're around others," she said. "Another thing you can do is test yourself and ask others to test themselves before you gather in any sort of large gathering.".

And stay home if you're sick. Terashita said when the new COVID vaccine becomes available, which could be as early as next week, make sure to get it.

She says the timing might be just right to help stem the rising tide of COVID infections.