Publix employee tests positive for COVID-19

Community By Linda Trischitta, Editor and David Snelling, Reporter Monday, April 6, 2020

Publix employee tests positive for COVID-19
An employee at the Publix supermarket in Miami Lakes has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We can confirm that we have an associate who works at store # 1129, 15000 Miami Lakes Drive East in Miami Lakes, has tested positive for COVID-19,” Maria Brous, Publix director of communications said in a statement Monday.
Brous did not say where in the store the employee may have worked or when he or she received test results.
Supermarkets are considered essential services and are open during the “safer at home” orders issued by the state, Miami-Dade County and the Town of Miami Lakes.
Employees at the Costco and Winn-Dixie stores in town who said they were managers and did not wish to give their last names said as far as they knew, no employees had tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Brous did not say how many other Publix employees in the region may have become sick during the outbreak. The company said on March 23 that an employee in Georgia tested positive for the virus.
Brous said the supermarket chain is relying on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state health departments to protect workers and customers.
Because people who may have contracted the virus may not have symptoms and could infect others, the CDC recommends everyone wear a mask or other covering over their noses and mouths while out in public.
Many people have also begun wearing gloves.
The CDC also recommends frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after leaving home and after coughing, sneezing or nose blowing.
If it isn’t convenient to wash one’s hands, the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol.
Publix’s measures, which Brous called “intensive and ongoing,” include a disinfection program that focuses on touch pads, door and drawer handles, phones, computers and other surfaces that are touched often. She said there is also continuous cleaning and sanitizing happening in stores.
As for employees who test positive, there is quarantine and paid leave for 14 days to recover from the virus, according to Brous.
Colleagues who have been in close contact with an ill person are notified, told to isolate themselves and are offered paid leave for up to two weeks, she said.
Publix customers may have noticed plexiglass shields that were installed at registers, customer service desks and pharmacies, and signs and announcements about social distancing and maintaining six feet between people.
The stores have also adjusted store hours to allow more time to disinfect and restock shelves, Brous said.
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