AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Tri-County Health Department ordered a Walmart to close Thursday due to a COVID-19 outbreak among employees. According to health officials, an employee, her husband and a security guard have died from coronavirus.

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The Walmart Supercenter is located at 14000 East Exposition Avenue. The health department reports six confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, plus an additional three tests that are being processed.

“We are extremely saddened by this news and offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the three people we lost,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “These deaths underscore the severity of the highly-contagious coronavirus, and the need for diligent safety precautions to prevent any further spread, including the wearing of masks.

A spokesperson for Walmart confirmed the store was closed for cleaning on Thursday. Health officials said the store will be able to reopen once the store demonstrates that all safety standards are met, including social distancing marks on the floor and masks for employees.

(credit: CBS)

The deaths include a 72-year-old female employee; her 63-year-old husband, who did not work at the store; and a 69-year-old male who worked for an independent security company. The conditions of the other employees who have tested positive for the virus is not known.

The Tri-County Health Department issued an “Order to Close” Thursday afternoon following a series of complaints from employees and shoppers regarding the lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time and employees not wearing masks or face coverings.

The order states that violations are a misdemeanor and can be punished with up to a $5,000 fine. Health officials said staff at Walmart are cooperating fully with the closure and investigation.

Employees and customers who need further information can call the Tri-County Health Department InfoLine at 303-220-9200 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, or email them at callcenter@tchd.org.

The health department has the following recommendations for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing:

  • Manage your symptoms at home the same way you manage other cold symptoms. To reduce the risk of transmission, people with respiratory illness should remain at home.
  • If you need medical care, consult with your health care provider. Let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Only contact 911 for emergencies requiring immediate life-saving care and let them know if you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Restrict visits to the hospital emergency room or urgent care – only individuals needing immediate care should visit these facilities. If you must visit an ER or urgent care facility, call ahead and let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Follow social distancing recommendations (i.e., limit contact of people within 6 feet from each other);
  • You can potentially be exposed to the virus if you are in close contact with someone who is ill with COVID-19. Exposure can occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes and you are within 6 feet of the ill person for a prolonged period of time.
  • You need a doctor’s order to be tested for COVID-19.

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