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COVID-19 Community Spread in McPherson County

Todd PittengerApril 9, 2020

Health officials in McPherson say community spread of COVID-19 is now likely, and they are providing information about a grocery store employee who might have been contagious while at work for two days.

The McPherson County Health Department says due to the increasing amount of COVID-19 cases in their community  without a history of travel, they believes it is likely that the disease is spread person to person, indicating community spread. McPherson County Health Department defines community spread as five or more cases not related to travel.

There are at least a dozen positive cases in McPherson County, including an employee at a Dillons grocery store.

The health department has identified a positive case of COVID-19 involving an employee at Dillons, 1320 N Main in McPherson. While the employee was not symptomatic while at work, the individual was at work immediately prior to symptoms. Those who shopped at the Dillons store on March 31st, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm or April 1st from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Symptoms for COVID-19 appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other rarer symptoms that may develop include malaise, sore throat, and diarrhea. If you develop any of these symptoms, but are not ill enough to seek medical care, you must stay home for at least 7 days after symptoms started or for 72 hours after fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and with significant
improvement in symptoms, whichever is longer. If you develop these symptoms and need to seek medical care, call your healthcare provider beforehand and inform them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and require medical attention.

If you were at the Dillons store during these specific dates and develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 between 2 and 14 days later, please call your health care provider. If you do not have a provider, please call your local hospital or the McPherson County Health Department at 620-241-1753 or email [email protected]

“We’ve been informed by an associate at our McPherson store, who has tested positive for COVID-19,” said Sheila Lowrie, Dillon Stores spokeswoman. “We are supporting our associate with an emergency paid leave and share our best for quick recovery. Upon learning of this case, we followed all sanitation and cleaning procedures as recommended by the CDC, communicated with, and supported our store team. We will continue
to follow guidance from local, state and federal agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations.”

Steps in action and completed at Dillons include:

  • Completing a deep cleaning and sanitation of the store.
  • Enhanced our daily sanitation practices, including increased frequency of cleaning commonly used areas such as cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, food service counters, carts, and hand baskets.
  • Provided masks and gloves to our associates to wear at work.
  • Established hand-washing rotation for front-end associates to allow for an opportunity to wash hands and rehydrate. Hand sanitizer continues to be available.
  • Installed plexiglass partitions at check lanes, pharmacy and customer service locations to further limit close interpersonal contact between associates and customers during this time.
  • Added floor decals and signage to promote safe physical distancing.
  • Adopted limits to the number of customers entering our stores at one time.
  • Reduced store operations hours to allow for associates to rest, clean, and stock the stores. Additionally, designated hours for seniors and higher-risk customer have been implemented.

McPherson County residents are encouraged to help the community and our health care system flatten the curve and slow the spread of coronavirus. They can do this by:

  • Following the Stay-At-Home Order
  • Covering all coughs and sneezes.
  • Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2020. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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