July 2, 2020 Update
Dear Seward Co-op Community,
Yesterday, we learned that an employee at the Seward Community Co-op Franklin store tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second time an employee has become sick with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. We are doing everything we can to support this person. Since March, a total of 23 co-op staff have had negative test results, two have contracted COVID-19 and two tests are pending. Customer and employee safety is our highest priority as we manage this public health crisis.
The Franklin store will remain open. We have worked with our cleaning crew to do additional cleaning that follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) environmental cleaning and disinfection guidelines. When we had our first positive case of COVID-19, it was very early on in the pandemic. We chose to shut down our store because there weren’t guidelines on what to do in the event that an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Now that it’s been a few months, the CDC and the MDH have a better understanding of COVID-19 and 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 require proper handwashing, face coverings, social distance, and limit the number of shoppers permitted in the store at one time.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19 they are assigned a caseworker from the MN Dept. of Health (MDH) who works to identify if that person has been in close contact with anyone. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines ‘close contact’ as less than 6 feet away for a duration of 15 minutes or more. MDH 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 MDH COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920.
While we cannot disclose the employee’s name, we can tell you that their last shift worked was Thursday, June 25. The individual did not exhibit symptoms until Sunday, June 28. They were tested on Monday and the results came back the morning of Wednesday, July 1. The CDC recommends individuals get tested upon learning they have come in close contact with an affected person up to two days before the onset of the illness. Two days before the onset of this illness was Friday, June 26. The employee has reported that they did not come into close contact with any staff or community members since Wednesday, June 24.
Please everyone take care, and thank you for your continued support during these challenging times.