Owner of Rhode Island medical facilities willfully exposed employees to COVID, investigation finds
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday it has cited the owner-operator of four Rhode Island medical facilities for willfully exposing employees to coronavirus.
The Department of Labor confirmed to ABC6 that the owner of the facilities, Dr. Anthony Farina, continued to interact with employees in the fall of 2020 after knowingly testing positive for COVID-19.
The exposures happened at North Providence Urgent Care Inc., North Providence Primary Care Associates Inc., Center of New England Urgent Care Inc. and Center of New England Primary Care Inc.
Six employees tested positive for the virus, and OSHA says proper safety measures were still not implemented.
Farina faces a fine of $136,532 for failing to implement contact tracing and strategies to prevent the spread, such as disinfection and symptom screening.
“This employer placed workers and others at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Employers have a responsibility to isolate workers and themselves if they show symptoms of the virus,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Sestito in Providence, Rhode Island. “Protecting employees and patients by implementing timely and effective safeguards and controls to minimize exposure is critical to mitigating the spread of the virus.”
OSHA said Farina has fifteen days to respond to the citation.