An employee at the Shaw’s Supermarket in Stowe who tested positive for COVID-19 last week was re-tested and received a negative test result.
The statement from Shaw’s spokeswoman Teresa Edington reads: “As earlier reported, an associate notified us of a positive test result. We have learned that it was a false positive and the associate has since tested negative. During this time, we continued to follow the guidance of medical professionals and the CDC and put cleaning and quarantine protocols in place for the impacted associate and any who had been deemed to have had close contact. We have also notified all impacted parties.”
News that the employee — who has not been named — tested positive started circulating on social media last week, as did news about the negative second test. Shaw’s did not verify the information until Wednesday morning, shortly before press time. This story replaces an earlier, online-only version.
Discussion on social media has been rampant, and Stowe public officials have asked people to show some empathy and not jump to conclusions. They praised grocery store workers for their heroic efforts keeping the food supply chain open during the pandemic.
Kyle Walker, the town’s emergency management director and its fire chief, spoke at a select board meeting Monday.
“When we hear of a case of COVID-19, it is not the time to sound the air raid siren and start beating the social media drum,” Walker said.
“Instead, we should use it as a reminder to refresh all of the precautions that we have been practicing for the past few months. Precautions like washing our hands often, staying home if we are sick, and wearing a mask if you are going to be around others.
“We also need to take a moment and (show) some empathy for the person that tested positive. These folks did not do anything wrong. They do not deserve to be the focus of negative attention.”
State Rep. Heidi Scheuermann said on Facebook last week that the store has been “an invaluable partner to our community” during the pandemic.
“Since the beginning, your associates have been there on the front lines serving us, shopping for our seniors and vulnerable populations, and answering our calls for assistance,” Scheuermann wrote. “Now it is our turn to stand by and support you.”
According to an earlier statement, the store underwent a deep clean after the employee initially tested positive July 6.
“Since that day, the store has been through multiple cycles of our enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting process,” the statement reads. “In an abundance of caution, we conducted a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the store.”
In May, the Stowe town government passed a resolution “requiring” people to wear masks in public, and has repeatedly stressed the importance. The resolution, however, lacks an enforcement mechanism.