Outbreaks of COVID-19 in Nine Facilities in Vernon

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health (Public Health) has identified outbreaks of COVID-19 at nine facilities in the City of Vernon. The largest outbreak is at Smithfield (Farmer John) where 153 of 1,837 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The positive results span from March through May. Out of the 153 employees who were positive, 41 employees returned to work. Smithfield has offered testing to all employees. The other eight facilities include CLW, Via De France Yamazaki Inc., Cal Farms Meat Company, Takaokaya USA Inc., F. Gavina & Sons Inc., Golden West Trading, Overhill Farms, and Rose and Shore. Public Health is supporting the City of Vernon on response and mitigation plans and to ensure that close contacts are identified and isolation and quarantine orders are issued.

“LA County is alerting communities of a COVID-19 outbreak at the Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon, which is located in the Southeast region of the First District,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “LA County public health experts are working closely with Vernon’s Health and Environmental Control Department to ensure all preventive measures are taken to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our public health experts are making sure employees with the virus, and their families, remain quarantined to minimize exposure to others. I remind everyone to wear a cloth facemask when outside, stay home as much as possible, and maintain at least six feet of distance when around others. Together, we can slow the spread of this virus to keep our families and communities safe.”

It is unclear if the rise in cases is due to additional testing or to spread amongst workers. Companies are required to report any COVID-19 cases to the City of Vernon and all positive cases are reported to Public Health.

“We are closely monitoring outbreaks within facilities in the City of Vernon, as many of the employees reside in adjacent Southeast Los Angeles communities,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, director of Public Health “We have assigned an infectious disease doctor to work closely with the Vernon Health director on response and mitigation plans, and we are engaging in comprehensive contact tracing protocols to ensure that close contacts are identified and isolation and quarantine orders are issued, to keep employees and their families safe.”

Public Health reminds everyone that if someone is ill, even with mild symptoms, please self-isolate at home until 10 days have passed after symptoms first appeared and at least three days after recovery. Recovery means that a fever is gone for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved. Even if tests results are negative people must remain at home for the full time, to prevent spreading illness to others. Those who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to be infected with COVID-19 must quarantined for 14 days from their last contact with that individual. Individuals who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions may be at higher risk of serious illness and should contact their doctor as soon as they are sick. The best protection against COVID-19 is to wash hands frequently, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if sick, practice physical distancing and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.