Meijer confirms first employee deaths from COVID-19

Additional details of the deaths will not be shared for privacy reasons

The Meijer on Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township, Mich. (WDIV)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer officials announced Saturday the first COVID-19 deaths of Meijer team members amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Related: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 23,993; Death toll now at 1,392

Meijer officials say they will not share any additional details regarding the deaths out of respect for the team members, their families and their privacy.

“Our team members are the heart of our stores. Every member of our team is a member of the Meijer family and this loss is deeply felt by all of us, especially those at the impacted stores,” said a spokesman for Meijer. “We share our profound condolences with the team members’ families and friends as they process this loss during these extraordinarily difficult times.”

Officials say they are working with staff at affected stores and providing counseling and support to those who need it. The stores will also continue following cleaning and screening protocols to ensure a safe environment for staff and customers, officials said.

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How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.