MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County public health officials reported two new coronavirus cases on Friday, both linked to an outbreak at Harry & David.
Jackson County Public Health said that four employees of Harry & David are now positive for the virus, in addition to three close contacts of those workers. An outbreak investigation began on Tuesday.
"Jackson County Public Health is working closely with Harry & David on this outbreak. Both agencies are working to ensure that employees who were in close contact with the cases are tested," the County said in a statement. "Harry & David and its employees are following Jackson County Public Health recommendations. This outbreak remains under investigation."
A corporate spokesperson for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc, the parent company of Harry & David gave NewsWatch 12 a statement on Wednesday:
"At this time, we are actively working with Jackson County Public Health in regards to three positive employee cases of COVID-19 within the specialty foods area of the Harry & David campus. All COVID-19 impacted specialty foods workers were on the morning shift and are currently quarantining at home," said Kathleen Waugh, vice president of Enterprise Public Relations.
Waugh said that all employees on the specialty foods morning shift were sent home on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution, and they were kept at. All shifts in the specialty foods and nearby areas were also canceled on Tuesday while the facility was deep-cleaned, foamed, and sanitized.
"We are following the guidance of Jackson County Public Health concerning further precautionary steps, including testing," Waugh said.
Harry & David has enacted social distancing, "de-densifying," and sanitizing procedures at all of its facilities since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Waugh said.
"Ongoing safety protocols within the facility include rigorous daily cleaning and sanitizing, including between shifts," Waugh continued. "Across all Harry & David facilities, employees are required to wear face coverings and we continue to enforce social distancing, which ensures a minimum of 6 feet between workstations and other locations throughout the facility. In addition, in a number of areas, we have implemented protective barriers to further protect our employees."
Most employees at Harry & David are still working from home, Waugh said, and the company is working to confirm how many employees had been working on-site in the specialty foods area.
"As we continue to work together with Jackson County Public Health, the health and safety of our employees and their families remains our number one priority," Waugh concluded.
Many of Oregon's most recent outbreaks of coronavirus have been among workers at food processing facilities in the state, driving a spike in cases on Sunday and Monday. The Oregon Health Authority has started reporting outbreaks of more than five cases at a single workplace in its weekly reports.
On Thursday, Oregon reported its largest single-day number of new cases, prompting Governor Brown to call for a pause on counties that are still trying to enter new phases of reopening.
As of Friday morning, there were a total of 78 reported cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County. Of those cases, 62 have recovered and 16 are still considered active.