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Rite Aid and Safeway run out of hand sanitizer, low on other cleaning supplies

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Rite Aid runs low on cleaning supplies. Hand sanitizer: gone. Disinfecting wipes: gone.

Cleaning supplies are being wiped out across local grocery store shelves and even toilet paper seems to be disappearing at rapid rates — almost like a widespread apocalyptic panic.

Don't worry though, the world isn't ending.

As concern spreads throughout the world about the new COVID-19 — a disease caused by the novel coronavirus — people are flocking to grocery stores and stocking up on cleaning products, masks and hand sanitizer. And supplies are running low.

The Lake Oswego School District confirmed Friday that the first presumptive Oregon COVID-19 patient was a district employee based out of Forest Hills Elementary School, and yesterday a second "household contact" of the first case was confirmed to also be infected with a presumptive case of the virus.

Forest Hills will be closed through Wednesday, March 4, but all other LOSD schools were open Monday. And while business largely continued as usual Monday morning, it was clear that residents were quick to take precautions.

When asked about the stock of cleaning supplies, a downtown Safeway employee said the store is "completely wiped out." Another employee said it seemed like the grocery store was running out of everything.

One employee said that hand sanitizer, face masks and Clorox wipes were among the items that were out of stock, and even the warehouse ran out.

PMG PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL  - Safeway shelves become bare as customers flock to the store to purchase cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer in response to the coronavirus outbreak."We keep ordering every day," the employee said, adding that there is no timeframe for when the warehouse will replenish its stock. "We have our hand sanitizer that we keep for employees."

To the employee's knowledge, no employee has called with concerns about coming into work.

"I just keep telling people to use hot soapy water to wash their hands," the employee said.

The other alternative that some Safeway workers have turned to is sending customers to the Rite Aid just down the street.

But walk down Rite Aid's aisles and you'd see that the store is experiencing similar issues. One employee confirmed that the store was running out of similar products as Safeway.


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