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Maui Costco has first COVID-19 case

Refunds employee in quarantine; safety measures being taken

Costco members wait in line to enter the Kahului store on April 4. The busy retailer confirmed Thursday that one of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus and was in quarantine. The Maui News TERRIE ELIKER photo

An employee at Costco Wholesale in Kahului tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and the retailer has taken steps to ensure safety for staff and member customers, a store official told The Maui News on Thursday.

General Manager Tony Facemire said Thursday the employee, whose primary role is refunds, is self-quarantining and following instructions from a personal doctor and the state Department of Health.

The employee last worked April 15 and had more limited contact with people “compared to some others,” he said.

Although some employees had already sought coronavirus testing for their own reasons, a few more decided to get tested as a result of Tuesday’s positive test results, Facemire said.

One of the busier retailers on the island, the Kahului warehouse store has implemented several measures to mitigate risk of spread of the virus.

“We are committed to helping protect the health and safety of our members and employees,” Facemire said.

Work areas have been professionally cleaned by an independent cleaning company during closed hours, employees who worked close to the individual have been screened daily and some staff have chosen to get tested, he said.

Facemire said the situation is being “closely monitored,” and the store is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

An internal letter dated Tuesday informed employees about the case and said the COVID-19 positive individual generally works a “varied schedule” in the Membership / Refunds Department. It provided other details on the last day of work and measures being taken by the company to enhance safety.

The letter informed employees that the Health Department has been contacted, additional cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been added to the daily enhanced cleaning and direct communication with coworkers who may have had close contact with the ill worker was being performed. 

The letter also encouraged social distancing, good hygiene and staying home while sick and provided resources to access paid sick/personal time, vacation time and other leave options.

“We share this information in the spirit of transparency,” the letter said.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

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