California considers emergency COVID-19 workplace safety rules as state sees surge in cases

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A six-member board overseeing the safety of California’s workplaces on Thursday will consider imposing new rules intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has been surging across the state.

The new guidelines, if approved, would apply to most of the state’s workers, except for those in healthcare who are covered by a different law. The discussion by the board overseeing California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, was scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Essential workers — many of them Latino, Black, immigrant and in low-wage sectors — have been disproportionately sickened by the illness. Virginia and Oregon have passed similar emergency rules to address the rise in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

This week, California set a record for daily positive cases, recording 13,412 new infections Monday. More than 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported statewide; more than 18,000 people in the state have died from the disease. On Monday, state officials responded to the surge by announcing a dramatic rollback in reopenings.

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