Four workers at San Jose Trader Joe’s test positive for coronavirus

SAN JOSE — At least four workers at a San Jose Trader Joe’s tested positive for coronavirus last week after “close contact” with one another outside of work, the company confirmed.

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All four tests came back positive between Friday and Sunday, while a fifth test is still pending, spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said Tuesday. A deep-cleaning of the store at 5269 Prospect Rd. in Westgate Center — which remains open to customers — was performed overnight Sunday.

“It’s our understanding that there was close contact among the crew members outside of the store, outside of work, and that transmission did not occur inside the store,” Friend-Daniel said.

The employees were tested on July 9th, and had last worked in the store between July 2nd and the 8th, Friend-Daniel said. None reported experiencing symptoms while at work, and no other workers have been asked to quarantine.

A Trader Joe’s employee at a different South Bay location who was not authorized to speak on the matter told this news organization that managers from other stores — including the employee’s own workplace — had been asked to fill in at the Westgate location because of staffing shortages. That request sparked concern among crew members about potential exposure between locations, he said.

“If somebody comes back positive, the store should be shut down, period, especially with four cases,” the employee said. “I believe it should be mandatory tests for everyone.”

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The store remains open because none of the four employees received a positive result within three days of working, Friend-Daniel said. At the start of each shift, crew members sign off on a wellness screening with a manager, and the store is thoroughly cleaned at the start or end of each day.

Workers at essential businesses have increasingly reported coronavirus outbreaks across Santa Clara County. Food service and food processing workplaces make up about 11% and 6% of worksite outbreaks, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said last month, with construction sites responsible for about 54% of outbreaks.

In May, a dozen workers at a Cardenas Market in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood tested positive for coronavirus; at the start of the pandemic in March, a San Jose FoodMaxx cashier and grandmother died from the illness.

Trader Joe’s operates four stores across San Jose. The Westgate cases are the first to be reported among those locations.

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