Dear Co-op Community,
On September 29th we learned that an employee of East End Food Co-op has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first employee to become sick with COVID-19, and we are doing everything we can to support this person. Upon learning of the result, we moved quickly to notify our local health department to discuss our plan. We are following all recommended guidelines from public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as city, county, and state public health departments.
While we cannot disclose the employee’s name, we can tell you that the last shift this person worked was Saturday, September 19. The individual did not exhibit symptoms until Thursday, September 24. They were tested on Saturday, September 26 and the results came back on Tuesday, September 29. The CDC recommends that individuals get tested upon learning that they have come in close contact with an affected person up to two days before the onset of the illness. (The CDC defines ‘close contact’ as less than 6 feet away for a duration of 15 minutes or more.) Two days before the onset of this illness was Tuesday, September 22. The employee has not come into close contact with any staff or community members through working at the Co-op since Saturday, September 19.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19 they are assigned a caseworker from the Allegheny County Health Department who works to identify if that person has been in close contact with anyone. The Allegheny County Health Department will contact any individuals who they determine may have had close contact with the individual who tested positive. Please direct any questions related to specific risk factors to the COVID-19 Helpline at 888-856-2774.
The store will remain open. We have been in communication with the Allegheny County Health Department and they do not recommend we close the co-op. We believe the practices we’ve put in place to keep the community safe have been effective. We will continue to clean and sanitize common touch points throughout the store and limit the number of shoppers permitted in the store at one time.
We have asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home, contact our HR department, and notify their physician. Since March, a total of 7 co-op staff members have had negative COVID-19 test results, one has contracted COVID-19 and one test is pending results.
Customer and employee safety is our highest priority as we manage this public health crisis. Our co-op prides itself on its cleanliness and food safety standards, and we are taking multiple steps to best serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community. To learn more about the steps we are taking, please see www.eastendfood.coop/storeupdates.
We ask that you abide by the following CDC guidelines to protect your health and those around you:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
- Wear face coverings in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.
- If you are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever, please stay home and notify your physician.
- Follow all recommendations provided by the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html
Thank you and be well!