Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services

Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (LCPHSS) announced on July 1 that six employees at the Chehalis Safeway store at 1100 S. Market Blvd. have tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 18 employees are self-quarantining at home due to their close contact at work with the six employees.

A statement from Safeway, Inc. to LCPHSS read, “The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors is a top priority, and we have been working closely with the Lewis County Public Health Department on this matter.  The most recent date an employee tested positive was June 24, and all employees who were in close contact with any of the employees who tested positive for COVID-19 were required to take paid quarantine leave for 14 days.”

LCPHSS Director J.P. Anderson reports the health department is continuing its contact tracing investigation to determine whether any more of the store’s 112 employees may have been exposed. LCPHSS has contracted with Valley View Health Center to help monitor the status of the six employees who tested positive and do daily telephone calls to quarantined employees to check on their health status.

Anderson also said the likelihood of customers also having been exposed is low. The COVID-19 virus spreads mostly through the air between people who are in close contact for 10-15 minutes or greater. “It’s hard to imagine customers and store employees in such an interaction during the normal course of business. Also, employees and a growing number of the public have been wearing masks which reduces the risk of transmission in settings such as these,” Anderson said.

The Safeway statement also noted, “This store has undergone regular cycles of enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection throughout the store. We have reaffirmed with our team that they need to wash hands frequently, disinfect check stands every hour, wear face coverings and practice social distancing. We have also reminded them that if they develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, to stay home and call their healthcare provider right away. In addition, we are diligently health screening of all of our employees upon arrival at work.”

People can stay informed by following the Lewis County COVID-19 web page at covid19.lewiscountywa.gov, @LCPHSS on Twitter, or www.facebook.com/lcphss.

In addition, DOH has a call center to answer questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211.

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