McKee Foods has had its first reported positive COVID-19 test of a Stuarts Draft plant employee, said spokesman Mike Gloekler.
On Friday, McKee Foods informed all its employees nationwide through its internal employee communications app about the positive case and contacted the employee’s coworkers in Stuarts Draft personally.
The employee worked with 11 other people in their immediate work area, Gloekler said. However, the COVID-19-positive employee had no contact with any coworker since March 12 and was not symptomatic until days after that, he said.
The employee was off March 13 because the line didn’t operate that day, as well as March 14 and 15. However, while at home on March 15, the employee experienced symptoms. On March 16 the employee called in sick.
The employee sought medical help on March 17 and again on March 20, when the employee was tested, Gloekler said. The employee did not work during this time.
The results came back positive Friday and McKee Foods was notified by the employee, Gloekler said.
McKee Foods asked the employee about contact with other employees and was advised of none.
“That employee’s line has been cleaned and sanitized several times in the past 15 days,” Gloekler said. “Our proactive increase in already-stringent sanitation practices is widespread through all our facilities. The FDA has also stated emphatically that there is no evidence that the virus is spread through food or food packaging.”
It is believed the employee lives in Nelson County, where there is one reported positive case. McKee Foods is not releasing any other information about the employee.
As of Friday afternoon, there has been no reported positive cases in Augusta County, Staunton or Waynesboro. Statewide, the Virginia Department of Health reported Friday that 604 people have tested positive for COVID-19, including 11 in Charlottesville and five in Harrisonburg.
McKee Foods’ plant in Stuarts Draft makes Little Debbie snacks, Sunbelt Bakery granola and cereal, Heartland Brands and Drake’s Cakes. Although Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order Monday that directed certain nonessential businesses to close at midnight Tuesday, McKee Foods is considered essential.