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Nearly 40 Scott’s Farms employees test positive for COVID-19

A Scott’s strawberry stand sits empty in Erwin on Monday, June 1, due to precautions taken following the news that almost 40 Scott’s Farms employees tested positive for COVID-19. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

One local family business was hit hard with the discovery of COVID-19 among several of its employees.

Scott’s Strawberry and Tomato Farms announced on Monday, June 1, that 38 employees had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Scott’s Strawberry and Tomato Farms Inc. announced today that it has completed employee testing for COVID-19,” Scott’s Strawberry and Tomato Farms President Steve Scott said. “Of the workers tested, 38 tested positive for COVID-19. Team members who tested positive will be isolated for at least 10 days and contacts will be quarantined for 14 days, according to CDC guidelines. Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farms Inc. will temporarily close operations for deep cleaning and sanitization of all facilities and equipment.”

According to Scott, the company acted quickly to ensure that there would be no further spread. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members and valued customers. We are working closely with the Northeast Regional Health Office to manage the impact of this illness on our team members, their families and our communities,” Scott said.

According to the FDA.gov, there is no evidence of food, food containers or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID 19. If you are concerned about contamination of food or food packaging, wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from the packaging, before you prepare food for eating and before you eat. CDC guidelines state to clean fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting, or cooking, unless the package says the contents have been washed.

Scott acknowledged that the employees will continue to be monitored for their safety and the safety of others.

“Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farm Inc. team members will receive daily clinical symptom screenings, in addition to a host of protective steps Scott’s Farm has put in place that meet CDC and Department of Health guidance for preventing COVID-19,” Scott said. “These include temperature checks for all team members before every shift, providing protective face masks to all team members, and a range of social distancing measures.”

When asked by The Erwin Record, how this will affect his business, Scott explained that isn’t where his concern is at this time.

“My concern right now is the safety and health of not only our employees, but also our loyal customers,” Scott said.

According to Scott, there was only one employee who felt sick.

“We had one employee feel sick and we worked with the health department, who has been tremendous to work with, and that employee tested positive for COVID-19 and was treated at the hospital,” Scott said on Monday. “We proceeded to test all of our other 118 employees and 37 more tested positive, despite having no symptoms. The first employee now feels well enough and is being released from the hospital today and will join the other 37 individuals in quarantine.”

Scott acknowledged that Scott Strawberry & Tomato Farms took and will continue to take necessary measures to ensure safety of both employees and staff.

“We are wearing masks and gloves as well as practicing social distancing,” Scott said. “We are doing temperature checks and in our market, the place is sanitized regularly. We will be closing down for several days to do a deep sanitizing job at all of our facilities and all of our trucks.”

According to Scott, loyal customers will still be able to get their fresh, local fruits and vegetables going forward.

“We are going to keep on picking. We will open the shop back up later this week,” Scott said. “We will have a more limited quantity than in past years, but this will allow us to ensure that every strawberry picked is safe.”

For updates about Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farms, follow them on Facebook.