As COVID cases continue to spike in Oregon prompting the latest set of restrictions, the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) latest weekly data once again shows that workplace outbreaks are a significant part of what is fueling the new increase in cases statewide. Data released on Nov. 12th shows that there have been 9,226 cases reported stemming from workplace outbreaks, up from 8,605 last week. The number of Oregonians who have died as a result of workplace COVID-19 spread has increased as well, with 45 deaths this week, compared to 37 from last week’s report. Correctional institutions, food processing facilities, and the retail sector continue to see spikes in cases.
Kenny Doyle, who works at Fred Meyer in Clackamas and is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 explained how the rise in cases has impacted their working conditions:
“It’s terrifying. We see COVID-19 infections and deaths among retail workers rising dramatically and yet workers like myself are largely unprotected. Each day I am choosing to not only risk my health and safety to earn a paycheck, but I am also putting my family and my community at risk. We need to tackle this problem head-on. Oregon OSHA’s temporary rules to protect us are a good starting point, but we need more protection.”
Graham Trainor, Oregon AFL-CIO President reflected on Kenny’s remarks:
“As an advocate for workers it is heartbreaking to hear how afraid folks are. We know the temporary rules enacted by Oregon OSHA will help, but we have to do more to both protect workers and reassure them that they can access the tools they need to stay safe. Oregon’s unions will continue to work closely with Oregon OSHA and lawmakers to get the protections we need to fight the increase in cases and hopefully get our economy back on track to a real reopening in the near future.”
To find information about workplace outbreaks in Oregon, please visit the Oregon AFL-CIO’s searchable database at www.oraflcio.org/osha. We will continue to update this database weekly after the OHA data is released as a resource for Oregonians.