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California

L.A. Unified confirms first known employee COVID-19 case

Austin Beutner
Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner announces first known employee diagnosis of COVID-19.
(Los Angeles Times)

L.A. Unified Supt. Austin Beutner sent a message to employees Tuesday announcing that “the first known diagnosis of an LA Unified employee having COVID-19 was reported” to the district late Monday.

The facilities contract employee, who last worked on the 28th floor of the district’s downtown headquarters on March 13, was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider on March 21st “although the employee has not been tested due to unavailability of the test,” Beutner said.

The office, which houses thousands of employees but no students, “was closed March 16th through March 18th due to problems with the data systems and was thoroughly cleaned during that time,” the letter said.

On March 19, several employees at that building who may have come in contact with the diagnosed employee met with a Contract Administration staff member on the second floor of another office building in Pico Rivera, he said.

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All the employees on the 28th floor and the ones at the Pico Rivera meeting have been directed to self-quarantine, according to the letter.

L.A. County Public Health Department head Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday that everyone should treat their doctor’s diagnosis as a positive unless test results come back negative, which means to quarantine and take all other precautions health officials have recommended.

The district is “aware of a possible second occurrence” but has been unable to confirm it, Beutner said in the letter.

“As the virus spreads throughout the communities we serve, these are not likely to be the only employees who are diagnosed with the virus,” Beutner wrote. “Federal law does not allow LA Unified to share the identity of any individual patient, nor are any employees required to inform LA Unified if they have the virus. When we have any verifiable information, we will do our best to notify those who may have come in contact with anyone who is diagnosed so they can take appropriate actions.”

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Times staff writers Julia Barajas and Soumya Karlamangla contributed to this report.


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