July 28, 2020, With harvest approaching rapidly for many of Jackson County’s farms and orchards, the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), in conjunction with Jackson County Health and Human Services is working to support local growers to ensure that workers stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jackson County EOC has received a significant amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) for distribution to agricultural employers to aid in keeping their employees safe. The EOC is beginning a PPE distribution program on Wednesday, July 29 to distribute the items to agricultural employers in need of assistance. Employers seeking PPE can come to Gate 3 of the Jackson County EXPO on Peninger Road in Central Point Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM beginning July 29 to pick up supplies. The PPE is specifically designated by the state for agricultural employers only. Those in need should email JC_EOC_LOGISTICS@jacksoncounty.org before coming to the EXPO so supplies can be prepared for you.
In addition to PPE assistance, Jackson County Public Health has partnered with La Clinica to establish a voluntary pre-employment testing program to assist employers with testing incoming seasonal farm workers for COVID-19. The program will hopefully minimize the chance of incoming asymptomatic workers bringing COVID-19 with them from outside of Jackson County and infecting coworkers while working on farms and orchards. Employers interested in the testing program can contact Jackson County Health and Human Services at (541) 774-8209. The program is free of charge to employers and results typically take 3-5 days to receive from the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. Employers seeking same day testing results, more commonly known as rapid testing, will be required to pay for the cost of the enhanced service.
“The goal of the entire assistance program is to identify those seasonal workers who may be bringing the virus with them from out of the area, isolate them from others to prevent spread, and keep the entire work force safe with proper PPE,” says Jackson Baures, Jackson County Public Health Division Manager. “We want our agricultural producers to stay productive and their workers to stay safe,” says Steve Lambert, from Jackson County EOC.
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