General Question

Jonsblond's avatar

Where could one work in a grocery store and not have immediate contact with other associates?

Asked by Jonsblond (5950points) 3 weeks ago from iPhone

I received an email today from my work stating that an associate tested positive for Covid. The email stated that this person was not in close contact with other associates.

How is this possible in grocery? I’m guessing something during third shift but there are other third shift workers and we all share the same break room and facilities.

Should more be done at my work to make sure everyone is safe? I don’t feel comfortable with any of this.

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29 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

My FIL primarily works in the back of the deli making salads and subs to sell on the shelf and for catering orders. He has very little contact with other associates, but it isn’t zero. The close contact interaction he does have is typically brief, and everyone is wearing masks.

What about the person who unloads the trucks? Is it just one person?

Probably, the things he would touch that everyone touches, like using the bathrooms, are cleaned regularly, and you would be careful using the bathroom anyway. The lunchroom I would assume is cleaned regularly, plus you would wash your hands before eating, or be using utensils.

I don’t know how exactly they define close contact.

I can tell you that the cases I know about at standard suburban grocery stores in my state have not spread to lots of associates in the store that I know of. I have heard of Walmarts having multiple associates, but they have such a huge staff, it is not necessarily that they caught it at work.

Is your store doing anything to decrease associates touching the same surfaces or being together for long periods with another associate? I know you already wear masks in the store.

longgone's avatar

Maybe in maintenance, security, or upper management? Or maybe even someone like an accountant who only comes in sporadically and hasn’t been around recently enough to infect anyone?

janbb's avatar

Stocking the shelves at night? I’d be inclined to take two weeks off if you can.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@janbb Taking time off after the fact will do nothing. Is there a video surveillance area? It might the security person.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Is there someone that has not been in the store for about two weeks? They may have been in isolation because a family member or someone eles had COVID-19 in June, now they have tested positive.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie If you’ve been exposed and may have it, it stops you from spreading it. People do quarantine after they may have been with someone who is positive. That’s what contact tracing is all about.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

But she hasn’t been contacted by a tracer and the email said there no employee interaction.

canidmajor's avatar

It may come down to defining “close contact”. Working the same quiet shift, but not interacting much beyond an acknowledgement may not constitute “close contact” by their standards. I doubt there is anyone who works in-store who has no contact.

As to the last question in your details, what safety measures are in place? I guess if you are uncomfortable, you might need to take matters into your own hands, and sanitize the parts of the common areas that you use. The store should definitely be doing that, but you (and they) can’t know what everyone is doing at all times.

My friends who work in the local supermarket take their lunch breaks in the car, and use wipes on all surfaces in the bathrooms.

JLeslie's avatar

I was going to add when my FIL was sent a communication that an employee in his store was covid positive, it said anyone who might have come into contact should be tested. My FIL hadn’t been in the store for two weeks so we didn’t follow up with it, but I assume the staff was able to talk to management to find out more details.

So, if they say the employee had no contact with others it’s probably true. The store wouldn’t want it spreading.

You’re dealing with the public so there is some risk. If you are getting very worried I would think you can take time off to give your brain a rest. You have a lung concern, can you use that as a reason?

Jonsblond's avatar

I’m scheduled to work tomorrow so I can find out more then. We do an excellent job of keeping everything wiped down in the store. Even upper management walks around cleaning.

My city has seen an increase in cases the past two weeks and there are at least 100 confirmed within a mile of my home and work. I’m scheduled to work the next seven days in a row starting tomorrow and I’m a bit apprehensive about being in the public for that extended period of time.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}

Jonsblond's avatar

^Thank you.

I found out it was a cashier in our liquor department. Many of us who buy items for our lunch break use those cashiers because it’s closest to our break room.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond So, what do you think? Do you feel any interaction with that cashier would be very minimal and you are not worried? Or, are you concerned for you and other employees? Do your cash stands have a shield in front of the cashiers? Are they going to offer testing for employees?

Jonsblond's avatar

^They have shields. I’m mostly worried about the rising numbers in my neighborhood and now it’s hit close to home. Half the new cases are people in their 20s. That’s the majority of our clientele. I wish I could quarantine right now but I can’t afford it.

Testing is free to all citizens in my city. We have a drive up location. They have been swamped with people coming to get tested since word got out of rising cases. Last week we had the highest number of daily confirmed cases since this all began.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond My FIL was paid for two weeks I think when he took time off since he was in a high risk category. He works for a large grocery store chain though, I don’t know how large your company is. He’s 80, so that was his high risk. I don’t know if your pre-existing condition would count if they have some sort of program like that.

It sounds like your store is good about trying to keep everyone as safe as possible.

If the customers aren’t wearing masks, maybe consider wearing a shield in addition to your mask. Shields are much more comfortable anyway, I’m trying to do research on how effective they are in real life circumstances regarding covid vs masks.

mazingerz88's avatar

I know someone who works at Giant or Safeway doing night-shift stocking the shelves. Guessing that position or something similar doesn’t require working closely with associates?

Jonsblond's avatar

@canidmajor “My friends who work in the local supermarket take their lunch breaks in the car”

I walk to work. I have to take my break in the store.

canidmajor's avatar

Well then, it’s a good thing that they work so hard to keep your store clean and the employees safe.

Jonsblond's avatar

^That doesn’t mean I’m safe. Hospitals are clean but disease can still spread.

canidmajor's avatar

Then maybe take @janbb’s suggestion.

Jonsblond's avatar

I would if I could afford it but I can’t. Our landlord won’t let us resign in August is we don’t get caught up by then. We’re behind a month because my husband was furloughed in May and my hours were cut when this all began. I HAVE to work. I’m just concerned for myself and my son. I’m doing everything I can.

canidmajor's avatar

Nobody’s safe. We all just do the best we can.

Jonsblond's avatar

I’ve been running a low grade fever for over a week with a runny nose and feeling run down. The fever is usually at night but I woke up with it this morning. I went in to work and told my boss. He sent me home and told me to get tested. I’m going tomorrow after I drop my husband off at work. We have a free testing site here in Madison and results take two days. My boss told me he could schedule me later in the week to make up the hours I’ll miss if it comes back negative.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond First, I hope you feel better.

So, if I understand you correctly, if you are negative and still sick then your boss still wants you to come back to work. Have you been working with the fever all along?

raum's avatar

Hope you’re feeling better, @Jonsblond. Fingers crossed for your test results.

Jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie My fever has only been in the evenings but not every night. Most nights but not every night. I felt great yesterday. It’s very strange. Today was the first time I had the fever in the morning. I haven’t gone to work with a fever until today. It’s been running around 99.5. My normal temperature is 98.2. Something is wrong I just don’t know what it is. I’m going to schedule a doctor’s appointment for the end of the week and go if my test comes back negative so I can find out what’s going on with me. I wasn’t too concerned in the beginning because it’s low grade but now that it’s been going on for almost two weeks I’m becoming concerned. I thought my runny nose was my allergies but our pollen count is low.

JLeslie's avatar

That is barely a fever. Difficult to know what’s going on, I see why you’re perplexed. Did it start with a sore throat for a day? Might be a typical rhinovirus cold. Although, your symptoms sound a lot like the Miami mayor and the Atlanta mayor who had covid, but probably your husband or son would have some symptoms if it was covid.

Jonsblond's avatar

No sore throat. Having an elevated temp (low grade) for an extended period of time is certainly not normal. I have had some nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and body aches with the low grade fever. Hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this all by the end of the week.

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