I didn’t plan to send a “newsletter” this week, while we’re closed, but I’m writing today to let you know that yesterday a member of our team received a positive COVID-19 test result, and another staff member is now reporting cold-like symptoms of sore throat and runny nose/sneeziness. We believe that the potential exposure for you was/is minimal — and don’t know that the two incidents are related — but we wanted to let you know.
The staff member who received a positive test last worked on Thursday, December 24. That day they worked only a brief shift, had no contact with customers or customer orders, and had very limited contact with the rest of staff, working at a distance and in a well-ventilated area. They showed no symptoms until a few days later, during the long weekend between Christmas Eve and their scheduled return to work. It appears that they contracted the virus from a member of their household who began showing symptoms on Christmas Day. Both have recovered, though are still experiencing some fatigue.
The second staff member began experiencing cold-like symptoms on Sunday, the 10th day after their last potential exposure to the known case. No other staff have reported any symptoms (we did ask). Our understanding is that while it is possible for symptoms to take 10 days after exposure to appear, it’s on the outer edges of likelihood. That staff member has a test scheduled, but we expect it will be at least several days before the results are available.
This staff member did have customer contact as recently as December 31st (the last day we were open). As you know, our customer contact these days is typically masked, outdoors, and lasts seconds. We have no reason to believe any customers were in closer contact than that. From a staff perspective, though, while we do our best to be cognizant of physical distancing throughout the work day, we all were in closer contact and worked more hours with this staff person than we had with the confirmed case.
While it’s hard to know whether a sore throat, sniffles, and sneezes is worth sending our whole staff into quarantine — combined with the news of the positive test from the other staff member, we immediately made the decision to cancel the planned work week and instead asked our staff to self-isolate.
This means, of course, that we will not be re-opening for in-person shopping on January 12. By then it will have been 12 days since we were here and together last, a full quarantine period under the current guidance. If, during that time, no one else exhibits any symptoms or receives a positive test (I know some of our folks are planning to get tested even in the absence of symptoms), we will re-open for curbside only — as we have been — on January 12.
If something else develops, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
In the meantime….Dusty and I are doing what work we can on our own and taking advantage of the time for some additional R&R in its other meaning, too. Yesterday morning I felt the most relaxed I had in months; maybe a little less so now. 🙂 We’re hoping that it remains a relaxing break for the rest of our staff as well.
And, you know, I wasn’t going to send a newsletter this week, but since I’m here — we’re also wishing you a happy and HEALTHY new year. Maybe this year will be better than the last.