ANGELS – County Public Health officials said on Friday they have ordered continued closure of LA Apparel’s manufacturing facilities in South Los Angeles and announced that more than 300 workers have been confirmed with coronavirus and four have died.
The company’s manufacturing complex on 59th Street was originally closed June 27 after inspectors found “flagrant” infections of infection control protocols and the company “failed to cooperate” with the county’s investigation of what were then about 150 total infections.
According to the County Department of Public Health, an official order was issued on Thursday with a mandate for “continuous closure”
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LA Apparel officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in a statement. “Entrepreneurs and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility towards their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment that complies with all health care directives – this responsibility is important, now more than ever, as we continue to fight this deadly virus.”
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Public health officials said on Friday that three workers from the facility died in early June, and another died this month. The agency began investigating conditions at the facility on June 19 after being notified by a “concerned caregiver.”
According to the department, investigators asked the company for a list of all employees so that it could be compared with the test results, but the company could not provide it.
At the end of June, inspectors found violations at the plant with distance requirements and infection control protocols, according to the department, noting that the company used cardboard as a barrier between workers.
On July 4, the company sent an “incomplete list” of employees to the department, and 198 positive cases were reported. But as of Friday, the number had increased to more than 300, according to the Public Health Agency.
Health officials said that despite the order being closed at the end of June, LA Apparel opened the factory with new employees, and company officials tried to prevent health inspectors from entering the facility.