Health officials in Marin County urged employers and residents on Monday to continue taking precautionary measures against the coronavirus after 43 employees at a waste management company tested positive.
The Marin Sanitary Service employees who tested positive, most of whom were asymptomatic, were among 288 tested after the county’s contact tracing investigators started communicating with those close contacts to the first confirmed case, Dr. Lisa Santora, the county’s deputy health officer, said in a statement. Three more employees were confirmed to have the virus.
An assessment of the facility last week led county health officials to identify “heightened risk of transmission” during break and lunch hours, when some employees did not maintain physical distance from each other and some were found not wearing face coverings, Santora said.
She called the actions “consistent with other worksite outbreaks.” The waste company was increasing “infection prevention,” such as adding another handwashing station.
County health officials and Kaiser Permanente also plan to return to the facility this week to offer more information about the virus.
“With easing of shelter-in-place restrictions, COVID-19 activity will continue to increase countywide, which increases the probability of outbreaks in congregate facilities and worksites,” Santora said. “This outbreak along with other worksite outbreaks shows the importance of staying vigilant throughout our day by limited social activity; maintaining social distancing; covering faces; and washing hands frequently.”
Patty Garbarino, president of Marin Sanitary Service, said the employees who tested positive worked on a sorting line that pulls recyclable material. County health officials decided to test all 288 employees after the company became a hot spot “by virtue of rapidly growing numbers.”
None of the employees who have the virus interacted with the public and none have been hospitalized, Garbarino said.
The first case among employees was confirmed June 6, and company executives started recording a new case each day until mid-June when officials started confirming several cases daily, Garbarino said.