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Norfolk Foodbank location closed temporarily after employee tests positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 10:49:40-04

NORFOLK, Va. - An employee at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has tested positive for COVID-19, the organization announced Tuesday.

The organization said they received formal notification on Saturday, July 18 that a staff member working at the 800 Tidewater Drive location in Norfolk tested positive for COVID-19.

All individuals, employees and volunteers, who may have been exposed or in close contact with this staff member have been informed and the Foodbank said they will take the necessary precautions as defined within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

The Foodbank will temporarily close the facility located at 800 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk to disinfect and sanitize the workplace, officials said. The facility will close from Sunday, July 19 to Wednesday, July 22.

All employees who are able to work remotely will do so and those who have jobs that cannot be performed remotely will remain at home with pay, the Foodbank said.

Food pickups, deliveries and direct food distributions originating from the facility at 800 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk will be rescheduled through Wednesday, July 22.

Volunteer shifts will be suspended through Friday, July 24.

In a statement the Foodbank said, "Over the last several months, in accordance with CDC guidance, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has been actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of staff, volunteers, and clients, while serving the community during this critical time."

Officials explained that on March 20, they suspended Friday Distribution at the Tidewater Drive location and collaborated with partners to develop a contactless distribution system. The organization also initiated social distancing practices and increased sanitary and safety procedures. Several programs and initiatives relaunched in May — with a modified service delivery model that enabled the safe distribution of meals to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity throughout Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore.

With no threat to food inventory, the Foodbank will continue to provide emergency food assistance for Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, which is currently experiencing a significant increase in the number of families who need access to healthy food. The food insecurity rate in Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is projected to rise to 15.7% for the overall population and 23.5% for children — an increase from 10.3% and 13.8% in 2018, respectively, the Foodbank said.