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5 Westwood Village Ralphs workers test positive for COVID-19

The Westwood Village Ralphs employs five workers who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday. The grocery store declined to comment. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Martín Bilbao and Hyeyoon (Alyssa) Choi

May 1, 2020 4:25 p.m.

This post was updated May 2 at 2:09 p.m.

Five workers at the Westwood Village Ralphs on Weyburn Avenue have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

John Votava, director of Ralphs division at Kroger, confirmed to the Daily Bruin that five workers at the Westwood Village Ralphs have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. One has recovered and returned to work, he added. NBC4 Los Angeles first reported the news Thursday.

The cases came to light amid a series of outbreaks at some Southern California workplaces. There are currently 89 confirmed cases and an additional 35 symptomatic cases as of Friday at 12 workplaces in the region, according to a running tally by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

However, the Westwood Village Ralphs is not included in the tally as of Friday despite NBC4 LA’s reporting. A Hollywood Ralphs on Sunset Boulevard is experiencing the largest outbreak with 21 confirmed cases, up two from NBC4 LA’s original report, according to LACDPH.

The Westwood Village Ralphs declined to comment for this article. 

Meanwhile, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, which represents Southern California grocery store workers, is asking Ralphs to offer testing for store workers and customers at the Sunset Boulevard location, according to NBC 4 LA. 

A Ralphs spokesperson told NBC4 LA positive cases among employees are in the “double digits” and the chain is not offering in-store testing at this time, opting instead to rely on LA County testing.

However, Ralphs associates will be offered testing options beginning around mid-May, contingent on symptoms and medical need, Votava said to the Daily Bruin in an emailed statement.

Gloves and face coverings are being distributed to every worker during every shift. Among other measures, Ralphs is making symptom checks mandatory for every worker before each shift, installing plexiglass shields at checkout stands and continues to sanitize high-touch surfaces every half hour, according to Votava.

Every worker on leave receives two weeks of pay, Votava added.

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Martín Bilbao | Alumnus
Bilbao was the Assistant News editor for City and Crime from 2019-2020. He graduated with a degree in political science student and previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
Bilbao was the Assistant News editor for City and Crime from 2019-2020. He graduated with a degree in political science student and previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
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