Jonathan E. Fielding, who served as Los Angeles County’s public health director and health officer for 16 years, has joined up with SAG-AFTRA to advise the union as it develops safety standards and protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19 when production resumes.
“COVID 19 remains a most serious health threat to all those who want and need to return to work. Therefore developing guidelines to safeguard people’s health as they work is a critical element of reopening this important industry,” Fielding, who is also a distinguished professor of health policy and management and of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles Schools of Public Health and Medicine, said Wednesday in a statement.
Fielding’s work with the union will begin with evaluation of data available from public health organizations such as the CDC and World Health Organization, and from labor relations and industrial sanitation and safety representatives of studios, networks and industry-related organizations. This will help to inform the union’s recommendations to labor allies, sister unions and entertainment and media industry employers. According to SAG-AFTRA, the resulting protocol “will look at all stages of the production process from socially distanced casting to preproduction testing to regular temperature monitoring, zoned production and rigorous sanitation measures to guidance on personal considerations on limiting exposure outside of production.”
Said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: “We are working tirelessly to establish a structure that will allow our members to safely return to work. Dr. Fielding’s expertise is a critical piece in solving the unique challenges our industry presents.”
Fielding, a cum laude graduate of the Harvard School of Medicine who holds an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as an MBA from the Wharton School of Business Administration, previously served as a member of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Health Security Strategy committee. He also chaired the Task Force on Community Preventive Services appointed by the CDC Director.