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Go to Work or Else?

Published on April 13th, 2020

As Alameda County health officials warned of a growing outbreak of coronavirus infections at two senior care facilities, Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center in Hayward and East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center in Castro Valley,  but are demanding that workers return to work even if they tested positive for the virus.  Health officials confirmed new infections among staff and residents at Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center in Hayward and East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center in Castro Valley, leading to six deaths.  Gateway currently has 59 people infected with COVID-19, 35 residents and 24 staff, according to Alameda County Public Health Department spokesman Neetu Balram. Six of those infected residents have died.  East Bay Post-Acute currently has nine residents and 17 staff members who have contracted the novel coronavirus.

Two men told KPIX 5 that their wives, both staffers at Gateway who tested positive for COVID-19, were told by their bosses that they had to come back to work.

Dinesh Kumar alleged his wife’s supervisor told her she could return to work even after testing positive and warned her repeatedly she would be fined if she didn’t return to work.

“My wife got diagnosed positive and she’s now fully isolated at home and I’m taking care of her,” said Kumar. “After she got diagnosed positive the employer called. A supervisor told my wife, ‘Oh you can still come to work.’ I said, ‘No we’ve been told you’re supposed to be isolated.’”

In addition, Kumar alleged the management told employees they did not need to wear masks on the job unless they were sick.

Guadalupe Tafolla told a similar story. “They told my wife, ‘You can come back to work. Just have to wear a mask and be careful,’” Tafolla said. “She’s positive! Of course, she’s never going to come back to work.”

“They’re not just residents here. They’re somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s mother,” said Jaime Patino. He is a Union City councilmember and the grandson of a resident at Gateway, and he says his family was told his grandmother was healthy, but no one at the facility said anything about the number of coronavirus cases. He wants answers.

“The protocols put in place by the CDC and state officials is they do not come in if they test positive. So that’s ridiculous!” Patino said.

 

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