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Cal/OSHA Cites Santa Rosa Police, Bay Area Hospitals, Care Facilities Over COVID Violations

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Cal/OSHA has cited the Santa Rosa Police Department, along with several Bay Area hospitals and skilled nursing facilities for failing to protect employees from COVID-19, the agency announced Wednesday.

The safety and health citations come with proposed penalties ranging from $2,060 to $32,000, depending on the severity.

Aside from Santa Rosa Police, Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center Davies Campus in San Francisco, and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center main campus on S. Bascom in San Jose were cited for violations of the state's COVID-19 protocols for workers exposed to the virus.

In addition, Hayward's Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center, and San Jose's Canyon Springs Post-Acute and Ridge Post-Acute were also cited.

The employers were cited for not taking steps to update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus, according to Cal/OSHA.

"Workers in health care and public safety are at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and employers must put in place measures to protect these essential personnel," said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker in a prepared statement.

The Santa Rosa Police Department was cited for failure to screen people showing COVID-19 symptoms in March, and for not reporting to Cal/OSHA multiple serious illnesses suffered by employees who contracted COVID-19. Detective Marylou Armer, a 20-year veteran of the department, died from COVID-19 complications after being exposed by another employee who had shown symptoms. Cal/OSHA said it did not learn of the Armer's death until two weeks after it happened.

Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center in Hayward was found to have exposed nurses and housekeeping workers to COVID-19 when it failed to follow requirements for providing necessary personal protective equipment. The Alameda County District Attorney's office launched an investigation of Gateway Care in April after an outbreak among residents and workers led to more than a dozen deaths among the residents.

A COVID outbreak at Ridge Post-Acute in April infected 27 people, including half of the facility's long-term residents. In May, two nurses' unions filed complaints accusing Santa Clara County of endangering nurses at Canyon Springs Post-Acute for failing to inform them of coronavirus-infected patients or provide them with required PPE.

Cal/OSHA noted it has created guidance for many industries in multiple languages including videos, daily checklists and detailed guidelines on how to protect workers from the virus. This guidance provides a roadmap for employers on their existing obligations to protect workers from COVID-19.

Employers are required to report any suspected cases of COVID-19 must be promptly reported to local public health authorities, and California law requires employers report to Cal/OSHA any serious illness, serious injury or death of a worker while on the job or in connection with work within eight hours of when they become aware of the illness.

Read the Citations from Cal/OSHA:


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