Oak Grove Fred Meyer site of latest COVID-19 outbreak
Oak Grove Fred Meyer has become the site of the area's latest COVID-19 outbreak, company officials confirmed on June 6.
Fred Meyer lobbyist Evyan Andries reported to State Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) that four employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Fred Meyer is offering COVID-19 testing to the employees who have been recommended for 14-day quarantine by the county health department.
Additional testing could bring the Oak Grove Fred Meyer above the five-person threshold that would result in further disclosures by the Oregon Health Authority.
Clackamas County areas with more than five cases include Dave's Killer Bread, Bob's Red Mill, Prestige Care in Milwaukie and Countryside Living of Canby. Prestige's Post Acute Care and Rehabilitation site has had 11 cases reported since May 9 that has, so far, resulted in one death. Countryside Living's 13 cases resulted in two deaths, according to state statistics published June 3. Bob's Red Mill has had 19 cases, along with six from Dave's Killer Bread.
Fred Meyer revealed that four of its 346 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 after constituents in Power's district reported the store shut down its pickup division for two weeks due to a majority of that division's employees testing positive for COVID-19, including one inside store cashier. Power said that her family no longer goes inside Fred Meyer, their regular grocery store, because customers aren't required to wear masks and spatial distancing is not clear/generally observed inside the store's layout.
"Presumably, Fred Meyer has contact information for everyone who picked up groceries on those shifts within the last two weeks," Power wrote to Fred Meyer officials. "One NextDoor commenter says she knows one of the sickened employees, who has had to interact with customers who stepped out of cars and were not wearing masks."
Fred Meyer officials say they're working closely with Clackamas County and the Oregon Health Authority and are in the process of conducting contact tracing. Fred Meyer offers emergency paid leave for employees diagnosed with COVID-19, those with a note from a healthcare provider or those who have been asked to quarantine by a health agency who have been exposed and have a verification from healthcare provider.
"Through regular communication with the Clackamas County Health Department, we've affirmed that our processes continue to live up to our high safety standards in protecting our more than 37,000 associates and the millions of customers that visit our stores each week," Andries said. "The (Oak Grove) store has had multiple professional third-party sanitation companies provide deep cleaning on May 31, June 1 and June 3."
Since she is seven months pregnant and taking all possible precautions, Power goes to Costco for bulk and New Seasons for limited in-person shopping because both require masks and have "very clear" social distancing protocols. Over the past weekend, with Oak Grove Fred Meyer's pickup service closed, Johnson Creek came up as the next-closest Fred Meyer location with time slots available.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fred Meyer officials have installed educational floor decals to encourage physical distancing between customers. Employees are required to wear masks and undergo temperature and symptom checks prior to starting their shifts.
Online story updates have added Fred Meyer COVID-19 responses, shopping choices by Power family.
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