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Agriculture company works with hospital to educate new farmworkers on COVID-19 precautions

Farmworkers
KION

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) A local staffing company for the agriculture industry partnered with Natividad to educate their new employees on how to be safe on the job under COVID-19 conditions.

Fresh Harvest brought in the doctors from Natividad to explain the importance of PPE and social distancing to its employees.

"Community education, in general, is a huge part of what we do as family doctors and farm workers sometimes don’t have access to care," Natividad resident physician Anne Irvine said.

Fresh Harvest Owner, Steve Scaroni, said this approach is a part of his company's evolving safety plan.

"Things keep changing and we have to keep adjusting our protocols and our prevention as we learn new things—we’re learning new things every single day," Scaroni said.

But these new workers are coming into the U.S. at a time when the economy is shut down in a lot of ways, and many are unemployed.

"Even though people are out of work, with the unemployment benefits and everything, a lot of them choose not to go into agriculture," Scaroni said. "It’s hard work."

Javier Barajas is from Guadalajara, Mexico. He came to the U.S. on an H-2A visa, and this was his first day on the job with Fresh Harvest.

"I’m a little worried, in this case, about what’s happening," Barajas said.

He spent day one learning from those doctors about how he can stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I learned how to avoid contracting it and giving it to other people," Barajas said.

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Shannon Longworth

Shannon Longworth is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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