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Worcester Walmart Closed After 61 Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

Update: Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus said an additional 38 employees at the city's Walmart have tested positive for the Coronavirus, bringing the total number to 61 cases. The final group of employees were tested Friday morning, and Augustus expect the city will have their results over the weekend.

A Worcester Walmart store has been shut down after 23 employees tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Hirsh, Worcester’s medical director, issued the shutdown order on Wednesday, a day after local health authorities inspected the store and found employees and customers not having or wearing proper personal protective equipment.

City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said while the positive cases had occurred over the past several weeks, the bulk were in the last seven days.

The store will be allowed to reopen only after it is cleaned and all 400 employees are tested, Hirsh said.

Walmart in a statement said it is “working with local officials to ensure we take all the necessary steps before reopening the store.”

Clarification: An earlier update on this story reflected a higher number of infections at the Worcester Walmart. That was added after Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Thursday that 41 employees at the Walmart had tested positive for COVID-19. But the Worcester Division of Public Health say the correct number is 23. HHS has not responded to a request seeking clarification. 

This article was originally published on April 30, 2020.

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