Seven employees of an Aldi grocery store in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, have tested positive for COVID-19. This also marks the first coronavirus cases reported in the area, the Spotsylvania County government said on Thursday, according to Patch.
It also technically constitutes an outbreak, which is defined as two lab-confirmed cases in patients that are linked by a person, place, or time outside of a household. Aldi Corporate Manager Philip Roades addressed the matter in a statement on Thursday, confirming "multiple employees" at one location tested positive for the virus. "We have asked all employees from this store to self-quarantine to focus on their health. All employees who are in quarantine are on paid leave and we are doing all that we can to support them at this time."
The store itself had a deep cleaning performed by an outside company on Wednesday and has since reopened with employees from nearby Aldi locations. All seven of the employees are currently isolating at home. In addition, none of the other store's employees who were exposed to those who tested positive are also quarantining for a 14-day period.
Like most grocery stores, Aldi was significantly impacted by coronavirus, which meant shortened hours, special shopping windows for more at-risk customers, as well as plexiglass installed in the checkout lanes to help slow the spread. While several states have already begun lifting the various Stay-at-Home restrictions put in place, there are signs of other supply shortages on the horizon, which stores are bracing for.
Namely, meat, as dozens of plants have shut down due to similar outbreaks of coronavirus, which will cause a much slower output in the coming weeks. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union have estimated that roughly 20 meat processing plant workers have died as a result. UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on Tuesday urging action from the federal government as "our nation's food supply are in greater danger every day that companies and leaders fail to act during this outbreak."
"It is clear that our food supply chain is threatened, and that is why our country's elected and corporate leaders must act now," Perrone's statement continued. "Tyson and every company across this vital industry must immediately join with UFCW in calling for federal and state elected leaders to designate these frontline workers as first responders."