Oregon Health Authority MIA
Despite massive push back, stalling efforts and rhetoric by chair Casey Kulla, Commissioners Rick Oslen and Vice Chair Mary Starrett passed a resolution in a 2 to 1 vote, during Thursday's Board of Commissioners meeting
. Commissioners Olsen and Starrett hope to give business owners a tool, amidst expanding restrictions. This tool, by way of resolution, might place small business owners on a level playing field with large corporations.
According to data compiled by OSHA and the OLCC
, small business owners are being cited and subjected to fines at much higher rates than their corporate, conglomerate competitors.
Inspections prompted by Governor Kate Browns COVID-19 lockdown orders are complaint driven, and result in either a surprise visit, or an inspection scheduled ahead of time. Larger retail stores appear to have several advantages over mom and pop businesses. One advantage, denoted by the data, is a scheduled inspection, rather than a surprise visit. The other advantage seems to be that small businesses are being fined at higher rates, and cited for bizarre things, some seemingly unrelated to Covid-19.
One example is a small general construction company in Multnomah County, cited for a "serious" covid-19 related violation. The citation reads "An employee was exposed to an uncontrolled fall of approximately 11? feet measured from the eave to the ground. No form of fall protection was in use by the employee engaged in activities related to the tear off and re-roofing of an existing multi-story single family dwelling." For this they were fined 1500 dollars, and another 875.00 for " An employee was exposed to an uncontrolled fall of approximately eleven 11? feet. The employee used a Gorilla band multi-position ladder, model GLMPXA-18 to ascend and descend from a roof. Due to the ladders length only approximately 24 inches of side rail extended past the upper landing." That's a whopping total of 2,375 dollars for violating Covid-19 restrictions. Conversely, a Safeway grocery store in Clackamas County received a planned inspection, where inspectors found that the store wasn't holding monthly safety meetings, and employees had no idea a safety committee even existed. The fine? 0$.
Similarly in Yamhill County a small franchise of Planet Fitness Gyms have not been allowed to open or operate, while their corporate competitor, 24 Hour Fitness, true to its name, has never closed.
With seemingly arbitrary application of the rules, it's no wonder business owners are desperate for remedy. Especially when taking into consideration the new infographic released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, addressed by Commissioner Rick Olsen in the board meeting. FEMA warns that "Following a disaster, 90% of smaller companies fail within a year
unless they can resume operations within 5 days." The new infographic has been updated to add closures as a result of illness or the Flu.
The evidence in support of passing the resolution was presented by Dr Henry Ealy, the lead author on a peer reviewed paper
which outlines how changes to death certificate reporting were made mid pandemic, for Covid-19 only, and how those changes are inflating the reported death toll by leaps and bounds. Dr Ealy disclosed during the meeting another recent finding, exclusive to Oregon. In Oregon, anyone can submit an active case of Covid-19
for reporting to the Oregon Health Authority.
Dr Ealy also addressed facts by demographic, and expressed concerns over the accuracy and integrity of current data being collected and provided. The test being used to determine active cases has also been called into question. During the meeting Commissioner Starrett read aloud a disclaimer that accompanies Covid-19 test results, "These results are not intended to be used as the sole means of diagnosis". The PCR test is no longer being used in other Countries due to the margin of error, and was recently taken to the floor by Austrian MP Michael Schnedlitz, when he showed colleagues in Parliament that the drink Coca-Cola will test positive for Covid-19
, by current PCR methods.
The Resolution which had been proposed in the weeks prior, was postponed by Yamhill County Chair Casey Kulla, to ensure a member of Oregon's Health Authority could be in attendance for questions and clarity related to the challenges to data, and lack of transparency brought up in the passed Resolution. For undisclosed reasons, OHA was notably absent, and left unrepresented during the meeting.
|Post Date: 2020-12-18 11:24:56||Last Update: 2020-12-23 04:15:33|