WASHINGTON — An employee of the Giant Food store in Columbia Heights has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a Giant spokesperson.
Giant said the employee has not worked in the store, located at 1345 Park Rd in Northwest D.C., since March 19. Three additional employees who worked with the employee that tested positive were asked to quarantine themselves, and all four employees will be given sick pay while they quarantine, Giant said in a statement.
The grocery store said that all affected areas of the store had been cleaned and disinfected, and that they'd continue to work with health officials to take all steps needed to protect employees and customers, while keeping their stores open.
"Over the last several weeks, we have put in place additional measures to ensure the safety of our associates and customers, including plexiglass shields at our registers, pharmacies, and customer service desks," a Giant spokesperson said. "We have installed social distancing signage in our stores to remind and encourage our customers to stay 6 feet apart from each other, and we have increased our cleaning and sanitation procedures on high-touch areas throughout the store."
Several other area grocery stores have recently announced positive cases among their employees.
The Trader Joe's in Arlington off North Highland Street had signs posted on its doors on Wednesday announcing that it was closed for cleaning after a crew member who last worked at the store on March 29 tested positive for the virus.
A few hours later, Whole Foods announced that an employee at the Foggy Bottom location had also tested positive for coronavirus. The store also temporarily closed for cleaning.
On Thursday, Safeway's Manager of Public Affairs announced that an employee at the Safeway Distribution Center in Upper Marlboro had tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had not worked at the distribution center since March 26, and the distribution center remains open.
According to CDC guidelines, "there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food." The CDC still recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds before preparing any food.
See Giant's full statement below:
"A Giant Food associate has tested positive for COVID-19 at our Columbia Heights location. Although the associate has not worked since March 19th, we took the precaution of requiring this associate, as well as additional associates that were working with the affected individual, to quarantine themselves. They will all receive sick pay during their period of recovery and quarantine. We have taken appropriate actions to keep our associates and our customers safe, moving quickly to notify health authorities and to notify associates who may have been in close contact with the associate who was diagnosed. We also took the necessary precautions to thoroughly clean and disinfect affected areas of the store. We're continuing to work closely with health authorities to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of our associates and customers while keeping our stores open and accessible.
As we continue to provide a critical service to our community, safety is our highest priority. Over the last several weeks, we have put in place additional measures to ensure the safety of our associates and customers, including plexiglass shields at our registers, pharmacies, and customer service desks. We have installed social distancing signage in our stores to remind and encourage our customers to stay 6 feet apart from each other, and we have increased our cleaning and sanitation procedures on high-touch areas throughout the store. We are using daily feedback from our associates, our customers, as well as our Union partners to continue to enhance our procedures for everyone working and shopping in our stores."