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2 Workers From Evergreen Park Walmart Die From COVID-19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two Evergreen Park Walmart employees are dead after contracting the coronavirus.

The sister of one of the victims, Phillip Thomas, spoke with CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards.

"He's 48. He's going to be 49 on April 12," Angela McMiller said. "I kept seeing on the news that I felt like they were making my brother a number. He's not a number. He's a person. He was a very good guy. He worked at Walmart for nine years. He had lots of friends there. They were devastated as well as we are. And he kept telling me he wasn't feeling well. He said he called his doctor and the doctor told him to self quarantine himself a week ago, which I thought was totally wrong because he's a diabetic as well."

Phillip Thomas
Phillip Thomas

She says her brother was never examined, just off of work and told to self quarantine. Finally on the March 27 he called an ambulance. He died two days later.

"I hope no one else dies at the Walmart," McMiller said."I don't know if it's a coincidence that two people died from that same Walmart. From what I understand he was out of work as well as my brother before he died. I just put my faith in God. That's all you can do because I know there's no cure for this virus. But it has taken my brother."

The second victim is Wando Evans. He, too, worked at the store in Evergreen Park.

Wando Evans
Wando Evans

Walmart said neither Thomas nor Evans had been at the Evergreen Park store for at least a week. However, the discount chain acknowledges it is making changes following their deaths.

Beginning Saturday Walmart will allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet in the entire store.

Walmart is also encouraging customers to practice social distancing once inside and released the following statement:

"We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families. While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas of the store. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection. We have also taken the extra precaution of bringing in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.

"Additionally, we have taken steps across the country to protect our associates and customers, including additional cleaning measures, installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing decals on the floors and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time. We'll continue to take steps, such as screening associates, conducting temperature checks, and providing masks and gloves for associates that want to use them.

"We've been in contact with Mayor Sexton and after sharing the steps that we've taken, we are able to continue serving the needs of the community."

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