Pet Supplies Plus distribution center reports two COVID-19 cases

Pet Supplies Plus has confirmed two team members at its Seymour distribution center have tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, company officials announced the Jackson County Health Department had informed them of the cases.

The first was reported March 31 and involves a day shift team member who was last in the building March 24. The second case was reported April 3 regarding a team member who was last in the building March 31.

“With a community disease like COVID-19, we know there will be members of the community who happen to work at the Pet Supplies Plus distribution center that will contract it,” the company said in a statement. “Our goal is to minimize or eliminate the potential for it to be transmitted when team members are at our distribution center.”

Both individuals are in self-quarantine for 14 days with pay and doing well, company officials said.

Other employees were made aware of the positive cases. The distribution center has more than 260 employees, according to statistics shared by Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.

“We have continually communicated to our team members what we know about COVID-19, the most up-to-date CDC guidelines, our actions to ensure a safe workplace and when we’re notified that a member of the community who works at our distribution center has tested positive for COVID-19,” the company said.

Team members who feel they may have been exposed to the virus or have concerning symptoms are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days and contact the Indiana State Department of Health or call Schneck Medical Center’s dedicated 24/7 hotline for free coronavirus phone screenings.

“We also remind team members that if they are in high-risk categories, such as if they have diabetes, asthma, heart disease, etc., that they, too, should stay home,” the company said.

The CDC guidelines are posted throughout the Seymour facility to inform and educate everyone.

“We explain that the vast majority of cases appear to be transmitted due to close personal contact, such as being around family members, shaking hands or being in close proximity (less than 6 feet) of a person with COVID-19 for extended periods of time or being close to people who aren’t covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing,” company officials said.

Employees are constantly reminded to practice social distancing, cover their mouth or nose if they cough or sneeze, wash their hands and don’t touch their face unless they have done so.

Team members also were given masks to be used at work, and they are required to wear them while in and around the building, except when eating or drinking.

“The masks are really to protect others if they happen to have COVID-19,” the company said. “Basically, ‘I wear my mask to protect you. You wear your mask to protect me.’”

The company also said it has gone above and beyond to not only meet but exceed health department and CDC guidelines to keep employees safe and healthy.

“This includes a strictly enforced staggered work schedule to minimize the amount of people in the building at one time and increased cleaning scope to sanitize all high-frequency touchpoints multiple times daily and close inspections throughout the day of cleaning protocols,” officials said.

In addition, the company has instituted the following:

Use of digital thermometers to test everyone entering the facility for a fever of greater than the minimum recommended by the CDC. If any individual has a fever of higher than the CDC minimum, they are not allowed in the building for at least 14 days.

Ensuring all hand sanitizing stations, which are placed at entrances and throughout the building, are frequently filled.

Contracted a professional environmental cleaning company to clean and disinfect common areas of the building.

Staggered lunch breaks, and everyone is required to be 6 to 10 feet away from each another.

At this time, Pet Supplies Plus will continue to have the building open for all team members while enforcing the staggered work schedules to limit the number of people in the building at one time.

“On behalf of our 10 million-plus pet parents and our 500 locally operated Pet Supplies Plus stores across the country, many of which are independent small business owners, we are eternally thankful to our team members for continuing to stand on the frontlines to keep product flowing to every store as we make every effort possible to protect their safety and provide food for more than 20 million pets,” the company said.