Detroit Whole Foods shoppers told to watch for COVID-19 symptoms after 24 employees fall ill

24 employees have contracted the virus

Health officials in Detroit are asking customers who shopped at a local Whole Foods to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms after two dozen employees contracted the virus.

Customers who shopped at the Mack Avenue location in Midtown Detroit between Feb. 12 to Feb. 22 are being told to watch for virus-related symptoms, which includes shortness of breath, fever, cough, aching, chills, loss of taste or sense of smell, the Detroit Health Department said in a statement.


The notice came after a "high incidence of COVID-19 cases" among employees was reported. As of Feb. 27, the health department had become aware of at least 24 confirmed cases amongst staff. However, there have been no confirmed reports that any shopper has contracted the virus as a result of this outbreak, the department said.

Whole Foods confirmed to FOX Business that the company has had a number of individuals test positive at this particular location since the pandemic began, although the roughly two dozen newly reported cases date back to early January.

Whole Foods Market on Mack Ave in Detroit, Michigan.  (Google Maps)

Any employee who has tested positive will not be allowed to return to work or even enter the store until they have completed their quarantine or isolation, are symptom-free and have tested negative, health officials said.

During this time, however, employees will receive two weeks of pay, according to Whole Foods.

In taking further precautions, Whole Foods also confirmed that it closed the store early on Feb. 23 for deep cleaning and reopened the following day.

“The safety of our Team Members and customers remains our top priority, which is why we are taking comprehensive action to address this issue and have rolled out extensive measures to keep people safe in our stores," a Whole Foods spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.


In the meantime, "the Detroit Health Department is continuing to work closely with Whole Foods to make vaccines available to all grocery store employees, monitor procedures at that location and ensure safety precautions are being followed," the department wrote in a statement on its website.

In February, Whole Foods sent all of its team members at the location multiple text messages to encourage them to register for vaccinations through the city. Flyers were also posted around the store.

The vaccine is available to grocery store workers and other frontline workers, as well as Detroit residents who are at least 60 years old.

The health department also took this opportunity to remind consumers to continue taking extra precautions even though the vaccine is being rolled out.

"Stay home if you are sick and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen. Wear a mask, avoid crowds, observe social distancing and wash hands frequently," officials said.