Emailed to PPOA members on March 28th.
This is Number Three of a continuing effort to provide PPOA members with relevant, timely information. Below is the latest information received from the LASD, County and Government agencies regarding COVID-19. Please be advised that the guidance and information provided may change at a moment’s notice. Any such change will be forwarded to the membership as soon as possible.
1. Will I receive PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from the Department?
Most workers at high or very high exposure risk will be provided and need to wear PPE’s (typically gloves and mask).
Employers are obligated to provide their workers with PPE needed to keep them safe while performing their jobs. The types of PPE required during a COVID-19 outbreak will be based on the risk of being infected with COVID-19 while working at job tasks that may lead to exposure.
Currently, the County is working to distribute PPE to all affected County agencies and their employees in a manner that correlates with their respective risk of exposure to COVID-19. The County has identified four (4) tier priorities for resource requests:
- Health Care Workers,
- Public Safety,
- Services Providers, and
- City, County, Special District and Critical Infrastructure.
The California Department of Health Care Services and the County continue to meet daily to develop updated strategies to make sure all County workers subject to exposure will be provided PPE in accordance with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (“CDC”) recommendations.
2. What kind of PPE will I be provided?
The kind of PPE that will be provided to you will be based on what kind of job duties you perform in relation to the COVID-19 crisis and the perceived level of risk of exposure associated with your job duties.
Public Safety Personnel would fall into risk categories depending on the specific job duties being performed in relation to COVID-19. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact with the general public (e.g., in jail facilities, courthouses, Department stations, high-population-density work environments, and some high-volume County buildings).
The CDC recommends that workers in this risk category need to wear some combination of gloves and mask.
For those performing high exposure risk job duties, which includes any duties where contact within 6 feet of an individual legitimately suspected of having or already positively diagnosed with COVID-19 is expected, the Department must provide a fully-functioning N95 mask or better. The appropriate form of mask will depend on the type of exposure and on the transmission pattern of COVID-19, which will be determined on a case by case basis.
All recommendations and suggestions regarding PPE distribution amongst County workers are subject to change depending on the County’s availability of resources.
3. Can the Department require us to wear PPE?
Yes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advises that an employer may require employees to wear personal protective equipment during a pandemic. However, where an employee with a disability needs a related reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (e.g., non-latex gloves, or gowns designed for individuals who use wheelchairs), the employer should provide these, absent undue hardship.
4. Can I refuse a work order if the Department does not provide the appropriate PPE?
Although the Department is working to provide the appropriate PPE for every Department member on an as needed basis, there may be emergency situations when PPE may not be available despite potential exposure to COVID-19. If this scenario arises, contact PPOA immediately.
Before refusing any orders based on a lack of PPE, make sure to contact PPOA and try to work with your supervisor to see if any alternate PPE arrangements or work assignments can be made.
5. If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, or exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19 what are my options as to where I can live during quarantine
The County and LASD have put in place two options for employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms consistent with the diagnosis. The employee who is ordered to quarantine, or isolate will be given the option of returning home or choosing alternative housing. Alternative housing will be made for those quarantined individuals with extenuating circumstances at their residence, such as family members at high risk if exposed.
If you require alternative housing and meet the above criteria, please work with your chain of command to contact the Department’s Operations Center for guidance. Should you have any difficulties, contact PPOA at (323) 261-3010, for assistance.
6. What happens if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or displaying COVID-19 symptoms and need assistance while quarantined at home?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need, food, water, hygiene items, or other personal necessities for you or your family, please feel free to contact PPOA at (323) 261-3010. PPOA is working to ensure that PPOA members are provided all basic necessities when unable to obtain these items due to medical restrictions. These resources will be provided to affected members as quickly and safely as possible.
Additional information about COVID-19 can be found by visiting PPOA.COM or the websites below for Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Links