Health department shuts down Colorado Walmart after 3 COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – The Tri-County Health Department ordered the closure of a Walmart in Aurora Thursday afternoon after three people connected to the store died of COVID-19.

The store is located at 14000 E. Exposition Ave.

According to the health department, the victims include an employee, her husband and a third-party subcontracted security guard.

The employee was 72 years old; her husband was 63. The security guard was 69.

Six other employees have tested positive for the virus. An additional three employees are awaiting test results. The health department says it has reached out to those workers but it does not have information on their conditions.

“The staff at Walmart are cooperating fully with this closure and ongoing investigation,” the health department said in a written statement.

“We are extremely saddened by this news and offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the three people we lost,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director of Tri-County Health Department, in a statement. “These deaths underscore the severity of the highly-contagious coronavirus, and the need for diligent safety precautions to prevent any further spread, including the wearing of masks.”

Tri-County Health issued the order to close following a number of complaints from employees and shoppers regarding a “lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time, and employees not wearing masks or face coverings,” according to the health department.

Employees and customers with questions can contact Tri-County’s InfoLine at 303-220-9200 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email the department at callcenter@tchd.org

Walmart sent the following statement, in part, about the closure:

“The temporary closure will allow third-party cleaning experts to further clean and sanitize the store. We will continue to work closely with the Tri-County Health Department and take additional steps as needed to re-open the store.

“We understand there may be questions about the precautions we are taking in our stores to keep our customers and associates safe. The company continues to implement extensive measures, including:

  • Installing plexiglass barriers (sneeze guards) at checkout lanes.
  • Installing floor decals in stores at both the entrances and in checkout lanes, making it easier for customers to judge the proper social distance from each other.
  • Taking the temperatures of associates as they report to work in stores, clubs and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions specifically related to common COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Requiring associates wear masks or other face coverings at work and encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop in stores.”

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