Dozens of workers at a Tennessee strawberry farm tested positive for COVID-19.
Scott’s Strawberry & Tomato Farms did not return a call for comment June 2. The Northeastern Tennessee Regional Health Center, part of the state Department of Health, referred questions to the company.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will not be picking today. We will update the website tomorrow and let you all know when we are able to,” according to a June 1 posting on the company’s website.
Steve Scott, an owner of the company, told News Channel 11 WJHL that one employee who felt sick was given a COVID-19 test as a precaution and received a positive test result May 28, according to WATE News. All employees were tested May 29, and results came back May 31, according to WATE News. Employees who tested positive are being isolated for 10 days, and their contacts are in quarantine, according to the health department’s statement to WATE News. The company closed for at least a day to do extra cleaning and sanitizing.
By June 2, the state of Tennessee had 24,375 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 381 deaths and 15,916 recovered cases, according to the state health department.
Food City’s regional retail locations have discontinued selling Scott’s strawberries, according to WCYB News 5.
“Given that local strawberry season is nearing its end, we have elected to discontinue deliveries of Scott’s strawberries to our stores for the remainder of the season. We value our partnership with Scott’s Farms and certainly wish their workers all the best for a speedy recovery,” the retailer said in an announcement, according to WCYB News 5.
Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company of Food City, operates 133 retail outlets in parts of Kentucky,Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no evidence so far that COVID-19 is a foodborne illness.
The farm grows strawberries on more than 13 acres, according to the Bristol, Va., Herald Courier.
The company offers produce for both wholesale and retail markets, shipping tomatoes nationwide, selling strawberries at retail stands and running a Unicoi produce market with vegetables, according to scottfarmstn.com.
Strawberry season typically runs from May to mid June in Tennessee.