A Publix employee at his Southgate Mall has tested positive for COVID-19. It is the fourth affected store in the Lakeland-Winter Haven area.
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LAKELAND – A Publix employee at the supermarket’s Southgate shopping center location tested positive for COVID-19.
Maria Brous, director of communications for the Lakeland-based supermarket chain, said an employee of the store, located at 2515 S. Florida Ave., was diagnosed with the new coronavirus in an email Tuesday to The Ledger.
Brous did not provide further information on the store associate citing health care privacy laws.
According to Brous, there are at least four Publix stores in the Lakeland-Winter Haven area where workers have tested positive for the virus.
“Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally affected by COVID-19,” he said. “Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities.”
Brous reported that one or more Publix employees also tested positive at the following three locations:
• Lake Gibson Mall, located at 6767 US Highway 98 in Lakeland.
• Winter Haven Square, located at 6031 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven
• Lake Miriam Square, located at 4730 S. Florida Ave. in Lakeland.
According to company policy, any worker who tests positive for COVID-19 must be quarantined and given 14 days paid leave to recover.
In addition, Publix notifies employees who worked in close contact with the positive person, who are then advised to be quarantined and granted paid leave, according to Brous.
Brous detailed some of the safety measures Publix has taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic according to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:
• A continuous and high disinfection program that focuses on frequently touched surfaces, such as touch pads, door handles, and computers.
• Installation of plexiglass protectors in registers, customer service counters and pharmacies in all stores.
• Store signs, one-way directional hallways, and regular public address announcements reminding customers and associates of social estrangement.
• Floor markers for an appropriate six foot space on checkout records.
• Require workers to wear face masks.
You can contact Sara-Megan Walsh at [email protected] or 863-802-7545.