The Montrose County Public Health Department on Thursday confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at the Carniceria Sonora, a meat market in Montrose, located on 347 N. First St.
An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in a facility within 14 days.
Data on the number of employees who tested positive was not immediately available on the state’s website.
The carniceria closed on Tuesday, and all staff are being tested. Dr. Joe Adragna, the county’s public health adviser and pandemic specialist, confirmed with the Montrose Daily Press that public health is working with staff at the market to follow cleaning protocol and disinfecting procedures of the facility. Once that’s complete, and all staff are tested, and there are enough employees who test negative, then the business owner can make the decision whether to resume operations.
Upon reopening, the business must then follow additional protocols and must follow through with public health requirements to stay open.
Public Health noted an increase in the number of employee-to-employee transmissions. People are still reporting to work because symptoms of the virus may not be apparent right away or are mild when they do.
Adragna, during a livestream update on Thursday, urged employers to conduct basic screenings. This means temperature-taking with a contact-free thermometer. If an employee shows symptoms such as cough, aches, or fever, those employees should be told to get in touch with their medical provider before they can make a return to work.
“Employers have a big opportunity here to fight COVID-19. … by doing that, you may also prevent an outbreak among your employees, which could lead to a temporary shutdown of your business, and we do not want that. You don’t want that. There are tools to prevent that,” Adragna said during the livestream.
Adragna said the county’s ability in dealing with outbreak sites has improved.
“I’m really excited with our team’s ability to work through outbreak sites,” Adragna said.
The ability to have all employees tested allows public health to have a more definitive idea of the outbreak and also helps those businesses return to normal operations sooner, if protocols are in place.
In addition, the complete testing helps stop the outbreak as soon as possible.
“Public Health is going to continue to operate in that fashion,” Adragna said.
A sign posted at Carniceria Sonora’s entrance notified visitors that all staff were tested for COVID-19 to ensure the health of the employees and the community. Until testing results are available, the store will remain closed.
Adragna recommends employers treat every precaution and safety procedure with great value, as it could mean the difference between staying open or having to close for an indefinite amount of time.
“Most businesses can prevent this from happening by following these interventions that allows them to be fully operational,” he said.