A total of 24 employees at a Dis-Chem store in Boksburg on the East Rand have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the company and local media have confirmed.  

The number was verified on Friday 17 April following re-testing of the entire staff complement of 132 people at the Retail Park branch in North Rand Road, Bartlett.

Previously one employee had tested positive on 9 April and then three staff members were confirmed as testing positive on Thursday 16 April. Thereafter all employees were re-tested.

All who tested positive are symptom-free

According to News 24, Dis-Chem’s national clinic manager, Lizeth Kruger, has confirmed that all of those who tested positive are symptom-free. She said the repeat test was not a health department requirement, but a step taken by the company as an additional precaution.

Kruger added that the process “highlights the aggressive virulence of this virus”.

Branch remains open and new staff deployed

The branch remains open, with Kruger telling News 24: “As an essential service provider to a large percentage of the Boksburg community, the store was reopened… on Friday with a totally new staff complement after further professional cleaning.

“The entire staff complement has been placed into self-isolation and the store has been re-staffed with employees from other Dis-Chem shops. The store has been extensively deep cleaned.”

Employee concerns that more cases still to come

Meanwhile the Boksburg Advertiser reported that “a concerned source at the branch in question” pointed out that the number may increase as other employees are still awaiting their results.

The publication also quoted an unnamed “prominent community leader” as suggesting that the store be closed and reopened after the lockdown.

SA’s retail workers on the virus frontline

Retail workers continue to be on the frontline during South Africa’s COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the week a Dis-Chem staff member at the Blubird Shopping Centre in Birnam, Johannesburg tested positive for the virus.

Times Live also reported that the Checkers store at Bayside Mall in Table View, Cape Town was temporarily closed on Tuesday 14 April after an employee there tested positive .Manager Aadilah Ryklief said the store would reopen once the health department gave it permission to do so.

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