UAPD Stops Clinic from Eliminating COVID Exposure Protections

One afternoon in late March 2020, pharmacists working at a Los Angeles County outpatient center were abruptly informed that to keep patients from entering the building, pharmacy operations would be moved into small tents outdoors the next day, eliminating the glass barrier protection pharmacists had indoors. Managers were trying to force them into direct contact with patients without providing them with masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Frightened pharmacists asked management to instead limit the number of patients allowed in the building at a time. Management rejected their request, while also failing to provide or even discuss masks or any other PPE or protective measures.

The steward contacted his UAPD representative who immediately contacted the facility director pointing out the danger employees would be exposed to and asking that they reverse the decision. The next day pharmacists came to work to find that they were still working inside and that patients were being allowed into the facility in small numbers. Although LA County continued to struggle to provide adequate PPE, as did so many others across the nation, the fast action by the steward and the UAPD representative stopped a dangerous plan and ensured that pharmacists were kept as safe as possible.