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Employees recovering from COVID-19 say company leaders

By Richard Rourk

Several area businesses recently reported positive COVID-19 cases. The first was Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) in Erwin.

The Erwin Record first reported about the three positive cases at NFS on April 22. Since then NFS has reported no new cases.

The three individuals who tested positive were quarantined, as were coworkers they had contact with.

All of these individuals have returned to work, according to NFS Communications Manager Laura Bailey.

“Nuclear Fuel Services is pleased to announce that our employees have recovered and have returned to work,” Bailey said.

On June 1, Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farm announced that 38 of their 119 employees had tested positive for COVID-19. Like NFS, the positive cases and all those that came in contact with the positive cases were quarantined.

Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farms President Steve Scott announced on Monday, June 15, that all of the individuals who tested positive were back at work and feeling good.

“All of our employees that tested positive are back and cleared,” Scott said. “We will have those who were exposed to COVID-19, but tested negative back from quarantine on Wednesday, June 17.”

According to Scott, only one of the positive employees was sent to the hospital and he has recovered fully.

“We are happy to have everyone back,” Scott said. “We are right in the middle of opening all of the stands throughout the region.”

Scott acknowledged that Scott’s Farm Market has strawberries as well as other produce and ice cream available during store hours.

“We are getting in fresh squash and zucchini daily,” Scott said. “We are also moving on with tomatoes next.”

According to Scott, the business is back stronger than ever.

“We are moving forward,” Scott said. “We are so thankful for all those that have shown support to those that quarantined and now we are back.”

For more details, including information and hours of operation, please visit Scott’s Farm Market on Facebook.

The most recent spot for COVID-19 to hit was Jones & Church Farms, and like Scott’s Strawberry and Tomato Farms they are already bouncing back.

“We are just getting into planting season and we will have everyone back for that,” Jones & Church Farms CFO Renea Jones Rogers said.

On June 6, Jones & Church announced that out of 110 employees tested, 10 had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are lucky, no one was really sick and it only hit one 15 man crew,” Jones Rogers said. “We are in the process of getting everybody back this week.”

According to Jones Rogers, the community has really helped out during this time.

“We are so thankful for everyone that brought groceries and goods for those that have been quarantined; it was very much appreciated,” Jones Rogers said. “We are also thankful for everyone at the health department, both Unicoi County and regional, their guidance and assistance has made this process so much smoother.”

According to Bailey, Scott and Jones Rogers all of the cases have been isolated events. Bailey confirmed that two of the three that tested positive for COVID-19 were residents of other counties. Scott and Jones Rogers confirmed that none of their employees had any interaction with each other.

“I checked to make sure none of our employees that were exposed to COVID-19 had any interactions with employees at other local farms, including Jones & Church and they had not,” Scott said.

Jones Rogers had similar conversations with her employees.

“Upon further investigation, all of our cases were confined to one 15 man crew, with no further interactions,” Jones Rogers said.