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Target confirms COVID-19 outbreak at Suffolk distribution center

Multiple people at the Target’s distribution center in Suffolk have tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement, the company did not disclose how many workers had tested positive, but said it is working closely with local health departments and that it had been notified of “multiple team member positive cases of the coronavirus” at the Manning Bridge Road distribution center.

The Virginia Department of Health, for purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic, defines an outbreak as two cases. Multiple people on social media who say they work at the Suffolk warehouse said there were only three people there who tested positive.

The center employs an estimated 1,100 people, according to the city’s economic development office.

The Target outbreak is likely the only one at a congregate setting in the district. It was first reported on the Virginia Department of Health website on May 18.

“We’ve communicated directly with these team members, who went into quarantine and are following all health department guidelines,” according to the company’s statement. “We’re paying these team members while they’re on leave, and our thoughts are with them during this challenging time.”

Target said that after learning about positive cases, it worked to quickly deep clean and sanitize the facility, notified all of its employees and provided them with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“We’re also providing all of our store and distribution team members with masks, gloves and thermometers, upholding rigorous cleaning routines, installing partitions at (checkout) lanes in stores and employing a variety of social distancing measures,” the company stated.

Target also said it has implemented measures like providing workers with disposable face masks and gloves to wear at work, issuing CDC guidance for cleaning and sanitation and increasing the frequency of those measures, adding signage and floor decals to remind workers of healthy hygiene habits and social distancing best practices in break rooms and on the floor of its distribution center, and temporarily putting a halt to all large group gatherings, including team and department meetings.

Suffolk currently has 311 positive cases of COVID-19, according to data reported to the Virginia Department of Health Friday.