AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)- Employees at an Aurora Walmart are speaking out after it was shut down by the Tri-County Health Department following a coronavirus outbreak. According to health officials, an employee, her husband and a security guard have died from coronavirus.
The Walmart Supercenter is located at 14000 East Exposition Avenue. The health department reports six confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, plus an additional three tests that are being processed. Jessie Metcalf has worked at the store for 5 years and says when coworkers stopped showing up to work, they were left in the dark.
"Managers wasn't telling us anything. We were asking them but they wouldn't really say. We would speculate that maybe they got the virus and they'd say, 'No it's pneumonia or something,'" Metcalf told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.
A spokesperson for Walmart confirmed the store was closed for cleaning on Thursday. Health officials said the store will be able to reopen once the store demonstrates that all safety standards are met, including social distancing marks on the floor and masks for employees.
Walmart released a statement to CBS4 on Saturday:
"Last night, third-party specialists were brought in to further clean and sanitize the store. Beginning Friday, at the approval of Tri-County Health Department, we are asking associates if they would like to help organize and prepare the store in the event that it is cleared to re-open by public health officials. Associates have the option – but are not required – to work during their scheduled shifts while the store is closed."
The deaths include a 72-year-old female employee; her 63-year-old husband, who did not work at the store; and a 69-year-old male who worked for an independent security company. The conditions of the other employees who have tested positive for the virus is not known.
Metcalf says she hasn't heard when the store will reopen.
"We reached out to the health department and they told us to call Walmart, but nobody answers the phone or anything," she told CBS4.
Still, Metcalf says employees should have been told what was going on.
"Even though we are just employees we still have a right to know what's going on. Don't put our lives at risk just for a dollar."
Employees and customers who need further information can call the Tri-County Health Department InfoLine at 303-220-9200 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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