It was intended as a simple plan to prevent corona virus plague among homeless people: pairs of dozens of hand washing stations and portable toilets on the streets of Los Angeles.
Then one day last week, the plan became complicated.
An employee of Andy Gump Inc. – family owned portable toilet rental company – doing his job, emptying wastewater from the hand washing station in Historic Filipinotown near the needle exchange.
He moved to install a hose to pump waste water back to his truck, when suddenly, he was stabbed. A syringe, perhaps used, has been inserted into the tube and caught it.
“The needle penetrated his protective rubber gloves, the latex gloves he was wearing underneath, and penetrated his skin to the bone,” according to a the court filed a federal lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles.
The incident has prompted the company to say it will remove all 50 handwashing stations that it has contracted to install – giving blows to the city efforts to provide ways for homeless people to maintain basic hygiene and avoid contracting the corona virus.
Representative Andy Gump did not respond to repeated calls for comments.
The employee was sent to the emergency room and was ordered to take a number of preventive medicines, including anti-HIV treatment, for six months, according to court documents.
It is not clear from court documents whether all handwashing stations will be deleted. On Friday, the city reported that only five had.
“The city is working with Andy Gump to keep this life-saving cleaning facility available to people who are homeless while at the same time addressing the company’s legitimate concerns about the safety of its employees who use and maintain this equipment,” the city attorney said in court documents .
This incident was revealed afterwards U.S. District Judge David O. Carter take a skid row tour on Friday. He has ordered city and district L A. officials to appeared in court Tuesday, because “sanitation facilities in the skid row continue to be inadequate to meet the urgency of the COVID-19 health crisis.”
In court documents, he described trying to use a non-functioning handwashing station and recount the conversation with an employee Andy Gump who told him that he had been ordered to move several stations.
Last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city had difficulty in procuring more handwashing stations and toilets, amid widespread concern. that the COVID-19 outbreak in the homeless population could have disastrous consequences for all of California.
Last week, an employee from the Union Rescue Mission shelter confirmed for have it, being the first known case on skid row.
On Monday, Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said there were now 12 cases in the homeless community. He said one person might live in a temporary shelter potentially contagious but refused to say the location of the shelter.
According to court documents, the city has been able to obtain 50 portable toilets and 60 hand washing stations for sloping lines, in addition to about 360 hand washing stations and 120 portable toilets that have been obtained by the city from various vendors lately. Sunday.
The mayor’s office did not immediately clarify information in court documents.
Times staff writers Melanie Mason and Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.
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