ABERDEEN – An unnamed employee of Food Giant, who was off work for six days after first showing symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, according to David Holcomb, North Mississippi district manager of the grocery store franchise.

“When the person took off work because of symptoms, we immediately cleaned and disinfected the area and all points of contact, just like the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and health department guidelines,” he said. “When we got the test results back Sunday afternoon, we called the health department and told them and have followed their instructions to a T. Anyone who came in close contact with that associate, we asked to self-quarantine for 14 days from the point of close contact.

Food Giant began taking extra safety precautions early during the spread of coronavirus by asking its employees to check their temperature daily and advising them to see a doctor if they developed any symptoms such as fever, cough or a runny nose.

Additionally, the store has been undergoing extensive cleaning throughout the course of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re still vigilantly cleaning points of contact all throughout the day,” Holcomb said. “The health department said we were doing the right thing and to continue doing the right thing.”

As a company, Food Giant’s hours are currently from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., but hours could potentially be reduced further at any of its stores, depending on the regional spread of COVID-19.

“Sanitation is our number one priority in all of our stores right now,” Holcomb said.

He urges customers to practice social distancing. Staying six feet apart is also something being asked for Food Giant employees to practice.

“We are a very honest and transparent company. We ensured we had all needed steps in place prior to any potential outbreak. We care about our associates and our customers, so we want to ensure we take all steps and allocate all resources in terms of health and safety of our staff and our local communities. Our thoughts are now to our staff and our associate who is recovering as we speak,” Holcomb said.

As of Monday morning, Monroe County had a total of five positive cases, according to data from the Mississippi State Department of Health. Mississippi’s total was 847 positive COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths.

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