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L.A. County health department opens inquiry as SoFi Stadium COVID-19 cases rise

An aerial view of SoFi Stadium under construction in Inglewood.
Eighteen construction workers at SoFi Stadium have tested positive for COVID-19.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Less than two months before the Rams and Chargers are scheduled to play their first games at SoFi Stadium, cases of the novel coronavirus among construction workers continue to mount at the $5-billion project in Inglewood.

Turner-AECOM Hunt, the joint venture overseeing construction, announced in emails to trade partners this week reviewed by The Times that five more workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Eighteen people at the 298-acre development are known to have contracted the illness. Thirteen of the cases have been announced since May 27. About 3,000 people work at the site each day.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in an email that “an investigation was opened for the SoFi Stadium construction site,” but didn’t elaborate about what that entails.

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A spokesman for the joint venture said the agency asked about health and safety protocols in place at the site and they provided the information.

“We will continue to support the Department of Public Health in its efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” the spokesman said.

The new cases are spread around the project.

Two positive results came from workers at the 6,000-seat performance venue that’s attached to the stadium. The emails said both workers are asymptomatic.

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An attorney who represents the family of an ironworker who died last week at SoFi Stadium alleges project safety lapses contributed to the accident.

A person working on the 120-yard-long Oculus video board at the stadium field level felt ill June 5 and received a positive test result the next day. The joint venture’s email announcing the result wasn’t sent until earlier this week. The worker is “recuperating at home under self-quarantine.” Four workers identified as being in “close contact” with him were directed to quarantine at home, though they didn’t show any symptoms.

The fourth positive result came from a worker at the pump house for the artificial lake in the park to the south of the stadium.

The most recent positive test result, announced Thursday, came from a person in the joint venture’s “Trailer Complex NFL Conference Room” who was preparing to start work on the project in an unspecified role.

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“During the orientation interview [June 10] the person mentioned having an upset stomach,” the email said. “Test results were received June 15th confirming a positive outcome.”

As has been the case with previous emails announcing positive test results, the latest email said: “Based on the above information the Project remains open to work without restriction.”

‘Hard Knocks’ will feature the Chargers and Rams moving forward amid coronavirus. It’s the first time the show, to air Aug. 11, will star two teams.

The project has taken a variety of precautions to prevent the illness from spreading, including mandatory temperature checks for anyone entering the site, contact tracing for workers who contract COVID-19, requiring workers to practice social distancing and instructing them to stay home if they feel sick “for any reason and symptom.”

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Work on the stadium paused briefly earlier this month after an ironworker fell at least 110 feet from the roof and died. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the incident.

After several concerts at the stadium were canceled because of the pandemic, the first major event is scheduled to be the preseason game between the Rams and New Orleans Saints on Aug. 14. The Chargers play the Dallas Cowboys at the stadium two days later.


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