Health Local News West Edition

Compton councilman tests positive for COVID-19

COMPTON — A coronavirus outbreak has been reported at Compton City Hall with City Councilman Isaac Galvan among several city employees who have contracted the virus.

Compton City Manager Craig Cornwell has stopped short of mandating that all city employees be tested for the virus. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is only reporting four positive cases in Compton City Hall.

However, 2UrbanGirls was provided a list of nearly a dozen staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 including Galvan.

“I began to feel very sluggish and tired and was sleeping longer than normal,” Galvan told 2UrbanGirls. “I couldn’t get an appointment at any of the local testing sites so as a member of Kaiser I was able to get tested there.”

Kaiser confirmed he did have COVID-19 and he was quarantined for 14 days. He was advised to test after the quarantine period to see if the results had changed. He has since tested negative.

“I notified City Manager Craig Cornwell that I tested positive and he responded he would have my City Hall office cleaned,” said Galvan.  When asked if Cornwell provided confirmation the cleaning took place, Galvan said he had not.

Galvan said he was told that multiple employees in the water, business license, building and safety, controller’s and public works departments tested positive for the deadly virus.

“I was both concerned and surprised the city didn’t notify employees that their colleagues tested positive and didn’t provide any direction on getting tested,” Galvan said. “The city is now taking temperatures [of people] upon entering City Hall.”

As of July 18, the city of Compton has had 2,250 people testing positive for the deadly coronavirus, according to county figures with a reported 30 deaths in a city of nearly 100,000 residents.

The Compton Unified School District has partnered with St. John’s Well Child Family Center to provide the community with locations where residents can get tested for free at various schools throughout the district.

“Throngs of Compton residents tested have resulted in more residents being identified as COVID-19 positive, which is an important step toward containing the spread of the virus,” Compton school board President Micah Ali said. “If more people are tested, fewer people will be exposed, especially the elderly and vulnerable.”

The city of Inglewood has mandated that employees be tested every two weeks despite the L.A. County Department of Public Health not listing any positive cases at City Hall. Inglewood Mayor James Butts has yet to publicly disclose if any employees have tested positive.

Due to the countywide rise in cases, officials are concerned there aren’t enough tests available for those who are experiencing symptoms and who are in need of testing.

That has prompted health officials to publicly ask employers to stop utilizing the free testing sites due to the wasting of testing kits designed to help those who are experiencing symptoms and not insured.  Many employers have been sending employees to the testing sites as a condition of their continued employment.

“Not only are employers not legally entitled to the results, but it is interfering with people getting back to work, reduces our available appointments and puts occupational health responsibilities on the county when we should be using those appointment slots for community surveillance,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser. “There really isn’t a scientific basis for requiring proof of negativity prior to returning to work. And to the extent that it pushes out individuals who do have a need for testing, then it really can do harm.”

Compton Unified continues to provide free testing while the city of Compton has yet to mandate testing of their employees.

The city of Compton has experienced a $9.8 million revenue shortfall and laid off the entire Parks and Recreation staff, while Inglewood expects to lose $20 million related to the mandated government shutdown initiated by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March which was reimposed July 13, due to the rise in positive cases throughout the state.