A second employee at the Fruit Basket Marketplace in Quincy has tested positive for COVID-19 and the city continues to ask anyone who was in the popular store between Oct. 2 and Oct. 11 to contact them, especially if they are experiencing any symptoms.
The city first alerted the public on Monday to a single identified case of COVID at the Granite Street store on the city’s official Facebook account. City Health Commissioner Ruth Jones said in a telephone interview Tuesday that a second of the store’s four employees has now tested positive. Both employees worked between Oct. 2 and Oct. 11.
Jones said customers who were in the store for brief periods of time – less than 15 minutes – are likely not to have health concerns related to exposure to the employees. (If they feel symptomatic they should be tested, she stressed.)
Of greater concern, Jones said, are customers who were in the store for 15 minutes or longer. “The people in there more than 15 minutes, those are the people that we recommend talk with their physician or go get tested” if they experience known COVID-19 symptoms, Jones said.
Jones said the store employees have been following COVID-19 safety guidelines regularly since they were imposed by the Baker administration, and that it’s not known how the highly contagious disease infected first one, then two employees.
As part of the critical public health measure of contact tracing, the city is asking anyone at the store during those days to contact the health department at 617-376-1273,” the city said. “The store is working with the Health Department on the issue, and will remain closed until further notice.”
Jones said the store, once it undergoes a decontamination, can reopen. But with just four employees impacted – the two other employees must self-quarantine – there is no one available to operate the store.
Meanwhile, the city is starting in-school instruction for students in grades 4 through 12 for the first time Wednesday, shifting away from an all-remote approach used at the start of the school year. The system will be using a hybrid model, Mayor Thomas Koch noted Friday in an update on the city’s COVID-19 procedures.
Koch said the city has not lost a resident to COVID-19 in two months and that the community appears to be handling the pandemic wisely after a painful learning period in the spring.
“As we know, we have all gotten smarter dealing with this virus. We didn’t know really what we were confronting back in March,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people lost their lives because they had an underlying health conditions or were in nursing homes, all kind of bunched together. We know now how we have to deal with things going forward.”
As of last Friday, the state listed Quincy at moderate risk status for COVId-19 spread.
John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.