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Employees test positive for Coronavirus at Westfield Mall in Palm Desert

Westfield Mall
KESQ

On Monday Westfield Mall confirmed there were three vendors this month that each had employees who tested positive for Coronavirus. Management told News Channel 3 they were notified on June 13. They directed vendors to contact local public health officials, and assured management that all underwent thorough cleanings.

Stuft Pizza Bar & Grill confirmed they were one of the businesses. They said it happened over a week ago, and that the employee was sent home to quarantine. An employee told News Channel 3 that co-workers that may have been exposed were tested, and that results were negative. The employee also said that the restaurant closed for about a week for deep cleaning.

"A business may close down for cleaning and that’s something the public health department would talk to them about-- making sure that they are cleaning all common areas or cleaning the areas especially where the employee worked," Riverside County Department of Public Health spokesperson, Brooke Federico said.

Federico couldn't speak on cases related to Westfield specifically. She did say that when the county confirms a case, contact tracers being piecing together who may have been exposed.

"In the instance that coworkers, or for example other customers may have been exposed, we would reach out to the employer and ask them for help with identifying these individuals whether they are customers, whether they are employees or coworkers," said Federico.

She said it's up to businesses whether they want to notify their employees, so long as the person infected is not identified.

When asked whether the county mandates businesses to notify the public, in the event that an employee comes down with Coronavirus, Federico said:

"That is something that has been done under certain exceptions. Generally speaking that’s not something that we make public for every confirmed case."

Exceptions could be skilled nursing and long-term care facilities due to the populations involved, and higher-risk individuals.

If an outbreak appears high-risk, Federico said the county public health officer would have the ability to close a location if there were to be an imminent threat to life or safety.

"What’s really important for the public to know is that there is community spread throughout Riverside County as well as throughout Southern California throughout the state. Every time we leave our home we need to make an assumption that it could be anywhere and to do everything you can to minimize your exposure-- that is frequently washing hands, keeping that 6 feet of distance from other people, wearing a face covering and also very important, visit those businesses that have put additional safety measures in place to protect you the customer, and also to protect their employees," Federico said.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019. Learn more about Shelby here.

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