Nearly 21% of the 391 employees at a Massachusetts Walmart have tested positive for COVID-19, reported WCVB-TV Boston, citing statements from local officials on Saturday.
According to WCVB's Josh Brogadir on Sunday morning, "Walmart in Worcester normally open at 7AM but remains closed after #coronavirus outbreak."
Walmart in Worcester normally open at 7AM but remains closed after #coronavirus outbreak.— Josh Brogadir (@JoshBrogadirTV) May 3, 2020
• total of 81 positive cases of 391 (20.7%) employees tested
• city inspection Tues found not all workers wore masks
• update expected at city briefing today at 4:30PM#WCVB pic.twitter.com/diUrhoImjg
Brogadir said a total of 81 employees tested positive for the virus out of 391, which equates to 20.7% of the workforce at the store have become infected. The store was shut down by Worcester health officials on Wednesday (April 29) after dozens of employees tested positive.
WCVB says Walmart hired an independent professional cleaning company to disinfect the Worcester store.
"Our inspectional services department will inspect the facility to make sure that the cleaning was done in compliance with our guidelines," said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus.
Augustus said the store would not reopen until "it has been professionally cleaned and all employees have been tested for coronavirus."
He said the store had confirmed cases over the last three weeks, but a majority occurred in the previous week.
Last week, a Walmart spokesperson said the Worcester store would be closed for one day to undergo a deep cleaning. However, about five days later, the store remains closed.
Other big-box retailers and Amazon warehouses have had a rash of outbreaks over the last several months. Employees at Target and Whole Foods, as well as Amazon, Instacart, FedEx, and Walmart, walked off the job on Friday afternoon (May 1) and protested over working conditions, lack of hazard pay, and how their employers are not providing them with proper health equipment during the pandemic.
As President Trump attempts to reopen the crashed American economy, the deadliest day of the pandemic was just recorded on Friday, with more than 2900 deaths. Dozens of states have unveiled re-opening plans, as it seems a premature reopening could trigger a second coronavirus wave.