Stop & Shop employee tests positive for COVID-19

Store has conducted “deep cleaning” in accordance with CDC guidelines.

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An employee of the Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop has tested positive for COVID-19. – Gabrielle Mannino

Updated 5 pm

A Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the grocery chain’s manager of external communications and community relations, Maria Fruci.

In an email to The Times, Fruci wrote that this is the only Stop & Shop employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 on Martha’s Vineyard.

“We have conducted an extensive deep cleaning of the entire store in strict accordance with [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines,” Fruci said.

In addition to having the store deep-cleaned, the employee will not return to work until they are cleared as no longer contagious for COVID-19, per state and CDC guidelines. Fruci did not provide a date of when the employee tested positive for COVID-19, or when the store was cleaned.

Tisbury health agent Maura Valley told The Times in an email that the Tisbury board of health was notified of the Stop & Shop employee. “The store was notified by our public health nurse, and has taken the appropriate steps to clean and sanitize the establishment. Close contacts of the individual have been quarantined, and testing is available at the drive-through test site for any store employee wishing to be tested. According to CDC guidance, a close contact is an individual who has been within six feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes, so store customers most likely would not have had a long enough exposure to contract the virus. Since testing is available at the high school for asymptomatic individuals, anyone who is still concerned and wishes to be tested should call 877-336-9855 to schedule an appointment,” Valley wrote.

Fruci added that “out of an abundance of caution,” a “very small number” of employees who came in contact with the affected employee were asked to self-quarantine. Any other employees who feel sick are being asked to stay home. All are continuing to be paid.

Stop & Shop is also providing gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer, as well as guidance on enhanced hand-washing and hygiene protocols; requiring employees to wear masks or appropriate face coverings; employing robust cleaning and sanitizing procedures at each store, including disinfecting high-touch-point areas throughout the day; offering disinfecting wipes near the store entrance so customers can wipe down carriages, hand baskets, and ScanIt! devices before use; have installed clear plastic guards at registers for added protection; implementing customer capacity limits and one-way aisles in every store; and using signs, in-store announcements, and other measures to encourage social distancing within their stores.

“Grocery stores are an essential community service, and nothing is more important to us than the health of our associates and customers,” Fruci wrote.

Updated to include comments from Maura Valley and Maria Fruci. — Ed.

62 COMMENTS

  1. Best thoughts for the infected employee. It will happen. I wish a speedy recovery. However, who is responsible for that outlandish mind boggling purple store? That is Martha’s Vineyard? where fast food arches were not allowed? Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, what a shock.

  2. Hey S&S,
    “…and nothing is more important to us than the health of our associates and customers,”
    Well, that’s great… but who/what are you actually protecting by not telling the customers, whose health you supposedly feel nothing is more important than, if maybe there are specific days/hours in the past week or so when they too could have unknowingly become infected? Obviously there are the best of wishes for the employee who has been infected. No one looking to blame them, but if there was regular contact by this employee with customers… we kinda want/need to know. :/

        • “specific days/hours in the past week or so when they too could have unknowingly become infected?”

          That will pretty well identify the employee.

          What should one do if they find out they were in the store with in4 hours of the employee?
          Call an ambulance?
          Med flight to Boston?

          • What a ridiculous comment. The point is not what customers would do with more information, it’s what they will likely do without it… stay out of the store for at least 2 weeks, especially if they are high risk.

          • How will know days/hours in the past week identify the employee?
            Is there only one person working at Stop-n-Shop?

      • qwerty– I am not sure what your point is responding to Islandgirl. She is not asking for the identity of the employee. She is not asking for any information that may breach any person’s privacy. I don’t know where you get the idea that she is.
        What she is asking for is a little more information about when this employee was working. I go into the supermarket about once a month. I know which day I was in there last month. What is the privacy issue if S&S lets us know when this person was working ? Or at the very least, when the store was cleaned ? Let me cite an example– let’s say you were on a plane last week , and someone who was on that plane tested positive. Wouldn’t you want to know that ? Especially if you were about to board a return flight. With that information ( of which no privacy breach occurs) you might want to get tested before you get on a plane and potentially expose others on the plane or your family members when you return home.
        The information could have been less useful– that Times could have said “worker in unnamed supermarket or retail store tested positive”

        • Don Don, I agree with you about knowing certain things about a covid positive person working and being in close quarters with the public. For goodness sake, they could track mad cow disease down to the animal, are not people important? Compromised people need to know as this is not something to fool around with, on the contrary, it is a vicious virus. It can and does kill.

        • Don you must be new here, the Island is small, if you identify when the person was working you have gone a along way to indentifying the person.

          • ajay– I have been here for 34 years. S&S must have 40 or 50 employees. If we were detectives trying to solve a murder, and knew every shift this person worked in the last month, we MIGHT be able to nail it down to 5 or 6 people. I could care less who this person is. I imagine almost nobody cares about the identity of the individual. What I would find useful for instance, is did this person work the elder hours shift 5 days a week ? If I went there twice a week during those hours , I might be more concerned and get tested. if they said this person worked weekends only on the late shift, after hours, stocking shelves, I would not be as concerned. It has nothing to do with the individual.

    • IslandGirlSinceWhenever, you might want to go back to the story, esp. the part that says “According to CDC guidance a close contact is an individual who has been within six feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes so store customers most likely would not have had a long enough exposure to contract the virus.” That suggests that store employees are at greater risk than occasional customers. If you’re wearing a mask when you shop and washing your hands well when you get home and after you put your groceries away, you don’t “need” to know.

      • More information does matter, and it can be done without disclosing identifying information. Was the infected person a cashier? Elderly and high risk people can spend quite a bit more than a few minutes at the cash register where it is impossible to stand behind the plexiglass all the time. The cashier touches every item and bags it and will even come around and help putting heavy bags in the cart. The less frequently an elder shops, the larger their order and the more time is spent unloading and packing their groceries. I hope the infected person recovers well and that there’s been no community spread. No spread doesn’t seem likely, unfortunately. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how long you have to be exposed or exactly what the exposure entails. What we do know is that the most careful people can still be infected because of the extreme contagiousness of the disease.

        • This virus is all bs, this article has been out since june 6th and there have been no new cases of it, just because the media says something it becomes the gospel, over 95 percent of people who get it are fine. Stop making a big deal out of this bs

          • The bs, ignorance, and the lie is in your comment. Exposure to the virus takes up to 2 weeks, not two days, for symptoms, if any, to manifest. 95% of people who get the illness are not “fine”. Something like 80% do okay, and the ones who are “fine” and are entirely asymptomatic are the silent spreaders to your parents, grandparents, vulnerable children and all those with immunity suppression. Most deaths occur in those over the age of 60 and with underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Many younger people are walking around without knowing they are at risk. Most older people, by now, know they are high risk. Stop saying stupid and untrue bs, not because it’s stupid and untrue, but because it is a danger to the community.

          • qwerty it’s BS?
            Is it BS if you die from it?
            Is it BS if you lose 30% of your lung capaciticty from it?
            Is it BS when it happens to you?
            Your mother?

        • If I was told someone was positive I would leave it like that, there’s no need to dig more into it, nobody needs to know when the person was working, what is that going to do? Exactly nothing but expose the person. This is such a “severe virus” that you need to know when the person was working in order to know if you were infected. No new cases were reported and the grand majority of people that had it recover at home. If everyone is so worried go take the test and end of story.

          • qwerty- tell that to the families of the more than 110,000 Americans , of all ages who have died. At this moment, there are 17 thousand Americans in our hospitals in serious or critical condition.
            Tell the families of those people , who can’t visit their loved one, and a scared Sh*****s they are going to lose that person ,that this virus is BS. Your comment is quite disgusting, not because I think you don’t care, not because you may be totally brainwashed by the lies of right wing media and the acting president. No, your comment is disgusting, because you have chosen to be willfully ignorant, and in fact comments like yours are believed by an ignorant minority that will cling to anything that does not inconvenience them. Your comment essentially is endangering the lives of these ignorant people. They may be ignorant, but you are willfully ignorant. Shame on you.

        • Jackie just take a test already and that will solve your issues, “was this person a cashier?” No it wasn’t a cashier, now follow on with your day

  3. Isnt that in the same corner where a few days ago a few Hundred people protested and social distancing was definitely not the order of the day according to all the pictures taken.
    Just wait another 12 -14 days for the people who attended the protest start regretting going and wish that they would have followed all the guidelines, recommendations and warnings announced of what could / would happen and asked for their cooperation.
    Wonder how many who attended the OB protest will add to the confirmed CV-19 cases?

    • Hold on to your chair, Tisbury Native. I’m backing your concern. What happens when tourist money debarks Steamship boats? Uniform rule for all they can’t shop in town or the supermarkets unless they’re wearing masks and gloves? Can restaurants expand dining rooms for social distancing?

      So here were are. Normal life and someone tests positive. It happens there was a protest a few days ago. And soon the Steamship deposits money on legs. How does the

    • I’m sure the current administration is hoping that everyone currently out in the streets affirming that Black Lives Matter and protesting police brutality will get sick. Everyone I saw at Five Corners was masked. I know supporters who didn’t attend the rally because they live with someone who might be at risk. I would be very surprised if anyone participated knowing that they might have been previously exposed. But what it comes down to is this: some risks you just have to take. I think of those Wisconsin voters standing in line earlier this year, sometimes for hours, to cast their ballots. Staying safe matters, but so does standing up.

      • The naked, unabashed hypocrisy on display from people like Susanna and the other usual suspects here that seem to comment on this site so much you would think they are on the MV Times payroll, is absurd — if not laughable. All those people, according to people like Susanna (I went back and read the comments), who participated in the April 22nd “Freedom and Liberty to Work” rally were acting dangerously and recklessly and were threatening lives. But anybody participating in the Black Lives Matter protest at Five Corners in recent days were brave because “staying safe matters, but so does standing up,” says Susanna. The lack of self awareness on behalf of people like Susanna is truly incredible. Do people really think that the virus cares about the cause of the rally or the reason people gathered? I thought the argument was that all those people at the rally on April 22nd were bad because they were putting our health care workers at risk … Does that not hold true for the demonstration last week in which several hundred people packed into five corners following the death of George Floyd? And also I have to take issue with Susanna for her comment: “I’m sure the current administration is hoping that everyone currently out in the streets affirming Black Lives Matter and protesting police brutality will get sick.” I, too, am not a huge fan of Donald Trump and his administration. But to say that he and his cabinet are “hoping” protestors get sick and, apparently, die from the virus is as ugly as it is unnecessary and divisive. Does anybody really believe that? Does anybody thing this type of comment helps anything? And if so, what have we become? Does being so hateful really do anything to solve the problem?

        • Jimmy– perhaps Susanna is taking a page from the right wing playbook when she says the trump regime is hoping protestors will get sick. All you have to do is watch one episode of Hannity on fox “news” to find out what the socialist liberals are trying to destroy in America at any given time.
          I actually heard rush limbaugh tell his audience of millions that the socialist liberals hate trump so much that they want to keep the economy closed JUST– and I emphasize “just” because they hate his rallies, and want to prevent him from having them. Imagine that he repeated The liberals hate trump so much they will keep force millions of people to suffer just so trump can’t have his rallies– think about that, he said.
          And let’s not forget the idiots who early on in this crisis told us it was all a hoax by the Chinese to discredit trump. The new impeachment effort was the line–
          I applaud Susanna for her clear and accurate assessment of what the regime is hoping for.
          Too bad Andrew is no longer commenting here to tell us all what the liberals are thinking.

        • Jimmy,

          Personally, I’m as concerned about the virus and gatherings as I was a few months ago and will remain that way until a vaccine is available. It is still scary to witness huge crowds. Can only hope we won’t see a spike soon. This has had me worried all week. Others have said they feel the same but also want to acknowledge the pressing need for equality and justice. It’s hard. The cause is vital, yet the timing is awful. These protests should’ve happened years back when cases of abject brutality began to get more publicity. I really don’t know why it has taken so long. I think, in part, it’s because the national conversation was derailed before by fake talking points and the very racism that created the issue in the first place. Still can’t go into that without getting angry.

          Keep in mind that many of the “freedom” rallies involved intentionally not wearing masks and were held during our peak, factors that played into the reaction. And part of what made the Douglas-proposed protest so frustrating was that it happened only a few days before construction workers were heading back to the job, an indication that our Island already planned to open up slowly. I was worried about health, yes, but also that we’d be working against economic progress if too many gathered.

          I’m not sure anyone who was demanding we be allowed to work in April should be critical now, though. It’s June. COVID is still a threat, and yet the country has been doing as the freedom protesters instructed by moving on in all sorts of ways, regardless of what the more cautious among us want. Wasn’t that their goal? So while I admit to being able to see your point, it’s no less hypocritical to demand change and then get upset when, months later, change is on display. This whole year feels like a no-win situation.

          I doubt Trump is hoping protesters will die of COVID because that would involve caring about and fully accepting the dangers of COVID. He made ridiculously irresponsible decisions, and we have not been able to catch up or undo them. Lives were lost to these government failures. It’s been reported that Melania even warned him to take COVID more seriously, and he ignored her, so he can’t claim ignorance. Trump only trusts in what Kushner has to say. Lord help us.

          • P.S. I also think you are being hard on Susanna by singling her out and didn’t mean to sound like I was backing you up on that portion of your comments. She has good reason to be concerned about equality. Trying to balance COVID, the economy, and BLM is proving difficult for all of us who care about these issues. I would hope that includes all Americans, though sadly that’s not the case.

    • Tis– we will see- we have had many protest recently– First, there were protestors who wanted the economy opened . Remember them ? Not so many here on the island, but many across the country. Many of them made a point of not wearing a mask. Now we have large numbers of people protesting police violence. They seem to have a higher percentage of masks.
      But, that many people in close quarters will likely continue to help the virus spread. We know that.
      I wonder what you think about the man baby demanding a full scale completely packed convention center with about 50,000 people for 3 days, with no face masks ?
      At least people who are protesting on either of these issues, and knowingly putting themselves at some risk, are doing it because they feel strongly about their cause. Would you put yourself at risk to satisfy the egotistical desires of trump ? Do you think it “presidential” and in the interest of public safety for him to demand this ? It’s not like it’s a real convention after all, it’s just a rubber stamp for a rubber duckie .

  4. wow just wow. stop and shop is literally the worst place to go other than mvh? I mean in the sense of more people per square foot right? I would think ms valley and s&s would be more forthcoming for our sake as well as these poor workers who were being worked to the bone for weeks. full disclosure. safe guess that theres more than 1 too

  5. I am glad purple and white are the colors, leave them to the high school and their activities. That store is plug ugly. IMHO….

    • Several years ago Stop and Shop was willing to invest millions in renovating this store. Poor leadership in town and loud opposition of those who didn’t take the time to properly understand the project killed it. The residents of VH got what they deserved.

      • I agree with BS and DonDon on this issue. I was surprised that so many fine people of Tisbury put so much effort into blocking the SandS renovation/expansion. I wonder what they want instead? I was equally surprised by the huge effort to prevent the Round-about, which turned out to completely eliminate those ghastly traffic jams. Sometimes group think really messes with good reasoning.

      • Salt, not weird to me. For a community that scrutinizes everything anybody wants to do, anywhere, and takes forever to do it, how did this slip on by? Nothing on that storefront proclaims “Island”…..my opinion…

        • So you were in favor of the renovations they tried to do several years ago? Or just anti-S&S?

          • New News, I am not anti anything regarding S & S, I do not like the decor of the building. Just that. I have been shopping at those grocery outlets since the late 1960’s….and will continue to give them business. I do not have to like their decorations.

        • augustawynd:
          I don’t believe their intent was to “proclaim Island”.
          I would expect that it was to proclaim Stop n Shop.

  6. “…and nothing is more important to us than the health of our associates and customers,” Fruci wrote.”
    Interesting that it finally took the presence of Covid for Stop&Stop to take seriously it’s responsibility to the safety of its customers and workers.
    Those ceiling tiles stained with black mold and rodent urine, the adjacent grocery storage with inches of water from a leaky roof, was a sight plain for all to see.
    The whole store was a Petri dish of bacteria, and only now they care about our community?

  7. I was in sns today and counted eight employees not wearing gloves.im not sure if wearing gloves is mandatory if not it should be when handling money. They also should be screening employees before their shirts start by taking temperatures or simply asking if any employee is feeling ill. This gets under my skin more than usual because my step daughter was covering the register for the person who is infected we have to be better than this

    • Jmfnt don’t you think the person who got infected is feeling bad enough? Stop talking like it’s the person’s fault

    • Should the change gloves between each customer? Hand sanitizer between customers is probably more effective.

    • Some groceries on the mainland are refusing to use cash at all – cards or contactless phone apps, only. It seems prudent to me.

      • I think that is a good idea, paper money is filthy. With so many apps and cards cash is not really necessary. One downside I see is not as many cash tips….which many people still do.

        • Most cash apps have an option to tip a few dollars or a percentage of the transaction. If you’re worried about just dropping change in the tip jar, well, it isn’t worth what it used to be.

          • Ascot, there are people who do not have access to modern things, either through desire or economics…I do not leave change in jars, I tip well. All the time, to everyone who does something for me. The workman is worthy of his hire….perhaps someone can advise how to couch that in remark in politically correct terms???

    • Gloves are only effective if they are changed after every ‘operation’.
      And only if they are put on and off the way surgeons are taught to do.
      Washing is 90% of it, gloves 5%.

  8. MBun, I do not have to be asked by anyone to leave a comment? that is what this forum is for, after all. If you do not want to see comments, do not read them.

  9. People will believe what they choose and read and understand what they want.
    No matter what.
    ugh.

    • People do not need to to read to understand the truth.
      They know that the truth is what they believe.
      So help me God.
      Ugh.

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