Employees at 17 Publix stores in Polk County have tested positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus
PUBLIX FILE PHOTO

A vehicle passes the front of a Publix supermarket in Florida. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Publix says workers at 17 of its stores in Polk County have tested positive for COVID-19.

News Channel 8 obtained a list of stores Thursday.

Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said associates working at the Southgate Shopping Center, 2515 Florida Ave South in Lakeland, and the Lake Gibson site on U.S. Highway 98 had previously tested positive for the virus, but not within the past 14 days.

Brous said 17 of the stores in Polk County have had employees test positive for the virus since the outbreak began. Publix has 19 stores in Polk County.

Here are the other impacted stores:

  • Publix at Auburndale, 606 Havendale Blvd., Auburndale
  • Golden Gate Shopping Center, 255 E. Van Fleet Dr., Bartow
  • Haines City Mall, 617 U.S. Highway 17 92 W, Haines City
  • Imperial Lakes Plaza, 2040 Shepherd Road, Mulberry
  • Grove Park Shopping Center, 1617 U.S. Highway 98, Lakeland
  • Plantation Square, 5375 N. Socrum Loop, Lakeland
  • Publix at The Highlands, 2125 E. County Road 540A, Lakeland
  • Highland City Town Center, 5185 U.S. Highway 98 S, Lakeland
  • Town and Country Square, 2300 Griffin Road, Lakeland
  • Oakbridge Center, 3636 Harden Blvd., Lakeland
  • Lake Miriam Publix, 4730 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland
  • Southgate Shopping Center, 102 Highway 60 E, Lake Wales
  • Spirit Lake Crossing, 1090 Spirit Lake Road, Winter Haven
  • Winter Haven Square, 6031 Cypress Garden Blvd., Winter Haven
  • Southeast Plaza Shopping Center, 884 Cypress Garden Blvd., Winter Haven

“Due to privacy laws, no additional information may be shared,” Brous said.

All the stores have remained open for business.

Brous said workers who have tested poitive for the virus are given 14 days of paid leave and told to quarantine.

Publix has a number of new safety protocols in place to limit the spread of the virus. The company installed plexiglass guards at cash registers, customer service desks and pharmacy windows, made their aisles one-way, and encouraged customers to practice social distancing. The store has also enhanced cleaning measures and adjusted its hours to allow for more time to disenfect aisles.

“Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19. Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities,” Brous said.

Florida reported an additional 11,433 cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 244,151 across the state. The number of deaths is 4,102, up 93 from Thursday morning.

In Polk County, more than 6,600 people have tested positive for the virus, and 129 have died. More than 550 people have been hospitalized.

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