South Boston’s Dollar General Distribution Center shut down its operations on Wednesday after learning that one of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement emailed to The Gazette on Thursday by the Dollar General Corporation public relations department.
The distribution center at 3207 Philpott Road resumed its normal operations on Thursday.
Wednesday was the second time in the past month that the distribution center temporarily halted its operations due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. The Dollar General also closed on June 26.
“Upon learning of both confirmed diagnoses, we notified employees in the facility and took proactive and preventative measures to halt operations to allow for extensive and thorough cleaning by a third-party cleaning company,” Angela Petkovic of DG public relations said in the emailed statement on Thursday. “All employees were paid for regularly-scheduled hours during these times, and operations resumed today to support the essential work and services that our stores are performing for the communities we serve.”
Dollar General did not share any identifying information about the employees who tested positive for COVID-19 in order to protect their privacy.
“Our thoughts are with our employees, and we wish them a quick recovery,” Petkovic said in the statement.
Social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning protocols have been in place at all the Dollar General distribution centers throughout the pandemic, according to the statement.
Moving forward, the South Boston distribution center is taking another step to keep its employees safe – requiring them to wear masks while at work. Petkovic said that requirement would be in place by Monday at the latest. She added that the center also is providing gloves for employees who choose to wear them. In addition, Petkovic said all Dollar General Distribution Center locations conduct temperature scan checks for every employee prior to each work shift.
“The health and safety of our employees and customers has remained our top priority, and our dedicated distribution, transportation and store teams have gone and are going, above and beyond to serve our communities and truly embody our mission of Serving Others,” Petkovic said in the statement. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken a number of actions designed to enhance employee and customer health and safety and to recognize our employees’ commitment to service.”
The Dollar General spokeswoman said the company also regularly educates employees on the actions they can take to help avoid or contain the spread of COVID-19, as well as measures they can take if they come into direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or personally develop symptoms of the virus.
“Employees who are experiencing fever or other symptoms of the virus are asked to stay home,” Petkovic said in the statement. “Employees impacted by COVID-19, including those who must remain at home due to their own diagnosis, to care for an immediate family or household member or while awaiting test results based on their own health symptoms, are paid for regularly-scheduled hours during those times. We have also established protocols for how employees should respond to both direct and indirect exposure to the virus in each of our stores and facilities and continue to update those as the situation unfolds.”
As cases continue to pop up at local businesses, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise as a whole in Halifax County.
The county’s COVID-19 caseload reached 73 in Thursday morning’s update from the Virginia Department of Health, representing an increase of five since Tuesday’s report.
Mecklenburg County recorded another death Wednesday attributed to the severe respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. In all, 29 residents of that county have died from COVID-19, the health department reports. The state reported an additional death at Sentara Meadow View Terrace, one of two nursing homes in Mecklenburg with outbreaks of the illness.
On April 4, the Virginia Department of Health was notified of an outbreak at Meadow View. In total, 83 people were infected and 14 died. On May 8, the department learned of an outbreak at Chase City Health and Rehab Center. That outbreak sickened 92 people and caused 12 deaths, data shows. Both outbreaks are listed as pending closure, meaning it’s no longer considered active.
In a two-week period, Halifax County added 32 new cases of COVID-19. In statistical terms, that’s also a rough estimate of active cases. While the health department does not track when someone has recovered from the disease, officials generally use a two-week mark to indicated active cases, although the measure is only an estimate at best.
The health department reported 67,988 cases in Virginia on Thursday morning. That’s an increase of 1,284 since Tuesday’s report. Those figures also include what the department refers to as probable cases: a situation where someone is showing the signs of the illness and had contact with someone else who tested positive.
In the Southside Health District — an area that includes Halifax, Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties — all 441 cases have been confirmed by a lab test.
There are 1,937 deaths in Virginia blamed on COVID-19.