Braddock Mayor: Health department investigating local Family Dollar COVID-19 exposure

BRADDOCK, Pa. — The Mayor of Braddock told Channel 11 the Allegheny County Health Department is investigating a situation involving COVID-19 and a local Family Dollar store.

Chardae Jones said there are allegations the store stayed open despite an employee testing positive and exposing co-workers to the virus.

“It’s too late now,” she said. “It’s such a highly trafficked store, and it’s very concerning.”

Jones said it started Sunday when a Family Dollar employee reached out to her.

“One of their employees who worked over the weekend tested positive for COVID-19,” she said.

The store closed one hour early that night for a deep clean but it never closed. Exposed employees said they were told to come to work the next day. Jones said she tried to track down employees to gather more information.

“Before I could even reach out to coworkers in the community, the contacted me and I thought this isn’t good at all,” she said.

Four employees all told her the same story: They were told to return to work, no days off or excuses.

“I tried calling corporate and that was just an automated pit of numbers and voicemails. It was very frustrating,” Jones said.

She took her concerns to the health department and officials confirmed to Channel 11 that investigators are looking into the situation. Jones said because of the delay in the complaint being heard and the store not requiring face masks, the potential damage in her community has already been done. She fears what this could mean in the coming weeks.

“What happened has already happened - if anything- as far as spread,” she said.

Channel 11 reached out to the corporate office and received the following response from a company spokesperson:

“The safety and health of our associates and the communities we serve is our top priority.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we temporarily closed and deep cleaned our Braddock store due to health precautions after learning of a positive test result. We also conducted contact tracing of potential exposure and notified associates accordingly. Our safety protocols follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, as well as all local and state Orders.

“Adhering to CDC guidance, the store underwent a thorough sanitizing procedure and has since re-opened.

“For privacy purposes, we are unable to comment on associates’ health conditions.”