Replicating another of its Salinas Valley programs, the Grower Shipper Association of Central California (GSA) has established a COVID-19 training prevention program for food facility and farm employees in the Yuma in cooperation with the Regional Center for Border Health clinic. The program brings health professionals directly to work sites to provide multi-lingual information on virus prevention practices while on the job and at home as well as answer any questions employees may have, including about the availability and safety of the new vaccines.
“This program was very popular among both employers and employees throughout last spring and summer and we are fortunate to bring this to the Yuma growing region where many of our members have farms and operations during the winter months,” says Christopher Valadez, GSA President.
In addition to the onsite prevention training, GSA also replicated its programs to establish a quarantined housing program as well as virus testing for farm workers in this region. GSA’s quarantined housing program became a model for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Housing for the Harvest” program. GSA’s housing provides daily deliveries of meals and necessities as well as health checks by nurses for those workers who have been exposed to the virus, tested positive or are symptomatic.
“As we have learned over the last several months and while we await the availability of the vaccine, prevention training, adequate testing and effective contact tracing combined with isolation alternatives through quarantined housing are needed to target the spread of this virus” Valadez says. “Bringing these programs to the desert growing region was a priority for GSA members to protect the farm workers who are essential to our industry and provide a consistent supply of healthy foods to consumers.”
Farmers who want more information on the prevention training, expedited testing for employees or housing should contact Christopher Valadez.