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COVID-19 Advisory: Exec Order ~ Immunity Tests in L.A. ~ Battle for the Beaches ~ Our Man on the Street

April 30, 2020
To: All Domestic Employees
From: Pandemic Working Group
Re: COVID-19: Exec Order ~ Immunity Tests in L.A. ~ Battle for the Beaches ~ Our Man on the Street

Executive Order on Meat Processing Plants
Many of you may have seen recent news accounts of President Trump’s Executive Order of April 28, 2020 in which it was reported that meat processing plants were being ordered to stay open. In fact, that is not exactly what the order says. Rather, under the order, after acknowledging the importance of the meat and poultry supply chain, the President places that chain under the scope of the Defense Production Act, then delegates his authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to take appropriate measures to ensure that these processors “continue operations consistent with the guidance for their operations jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA.” In fact, a number of facilities closed due to COVID infections. Then CDC and OSHA published guidelines, which requires a COVID-19 assessment and control plan including engineering and administrative controls, such as employee spacing on the adjacent CDC pictogram. Those facilities cannot reopen and operate unless and until they meet those guidelines. If, for some reason a closed facility achieves compliance with CDC and OSHA and still does not open (as, in the case of more strict state laws – of which I am unaware), then this order would permit the Secretary of Agriculture to urge the owner to open. That, in a nutshell, is what this order seems to mean.

Immunity Testing in L.A.
As reported by media outlets far and wide (but most comprehensively by the Seattle Times), yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, announced that all Los Angeles County residents will have access to free coronavirus infection testing regardless of whether they have symptoms. Previously, testing in L.A. was available only to symptomatic persons, front-line workers and those in high-risk facilities (such as nursing homes). Los Angeles is the first city to offer such a program. Mayor Garcetti stated, “As long as this disease takes lives, we must test.” With 1,541 new cases in the city yesterday (the largest since the outbreak), the city is now poised to test up to 18,000 persons per day at 34 sites countywide. It should be noted that daily infection totals are likely to rise, as testing expands further. The mayor went on further to say, “Don’t wait, don’t wonder and don’t risk infecting others.”

The Battle for the Beaches
As reported by KCRA 3 and from outlets as far away as New York City (thank you, Peter Porpiglia), today California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered beaches in Orange County to be closed after a weekend during which 40,000 persons congregated on its sandy shores. This image (courtesy of the L.A. Times) shows Huntington Beach last weekend – not exactly the picture of social distancing. The governor’s order directly countermands the Newport Beach City Council action of two days ago, when they voted 5-to-2 against closure of their beaches. Governor Newsom stated that the effort is necessary to protect public health from persons who, failing to practice social distancing, may unwittingly contract the disease and spread it further throughout the state. This is consistent with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments (as reported by NBC News today) that states reopening their economies “can’t just leap over things” and should only begin to reopen if they have a two-week decline in the number of new cases. Governor Newsom added that the closure is temporary and that he planned to work with local authorities on creating better guidelines so that the beaches can “reopen very, very quickly.” No other counties were affected by the governor’s order.

Testing – Tone from the Top

In the midst of the near-unanimous call for additional coronavirus testing, our man on the street, CEO Eric Wintemute, took matters into his own hands and underwent both an infection test (PCR – swab @$125) and antibody test (blood sample @$75), both of which were quick and painless, through a local physician who had set up a drive-thru testing facility at the Westminster Mall (as shown courtesy of OC Register). Results? We are pleased to report that Eric is infection free and, for that matter, has not been infected before. In effect, he was a double-negative. In point of fact, one might argue that this is really a double-positive.

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COVID-19 Advisory: Exec Order ~ Immunity Tests in L.A. ~ Battle for the Beaches ~ Our Man on the Street