5 Michigan grocery store workers pass away from COVID-19 at Kroger, Meijer locations

Friday, April 10, 2020 - 1:26pm

Ann Arbor residents wait in line to purchase groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic at Meijer.

Ann Arbor residents wait in line to purchase groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic at Meijer. Buy this photo
Dominick Sokotoff/Daily

Five grocery store employees have died from COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon. The individuals include one employee each from four metro-Detroit Kroger locations — Northville, Troy, Grosse Pointe and Livonia — as well as one individual from an undisclosed Meijer location. These are the first reported deaths of grocery store workers in the state of Michigan. 

In an email to the Detroit Free Press, Ken DeLuca, Kroger Co. Michigan president, confirmed the deaths and expressed his condolences.

"We are mourning along with their families during this extraordinarily difficult time," DeLuca wrote.

The Free Press reported that a Meijer spokesperson also released a statement and have informed other employees at the affected store.

"We are deeply saddened to confirm that we have recently lost our first Meijer team member as a result of complications due to COVID-19," said a Meijer spokesperson. "Out of respect for the team members and their families, we will not share any additional details and ask that you respect their privacy during this difficult time."

According to the Free Press, both companies emphasized they will continue to follow detailed cleaning procedures. 

At least three Meijer store locations across the state of Michigan have had team members test positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the organization on Thursday. Among these are store locations in Grandville and Cedar Springs, as well as one near Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jackson Road. 

According to management, the situation has been closely monitored and the team members diagnosed are currently self-quarantining. 

“As cases have been confirmed, we have communicated the information to all our team members at the location and continue to follow detailed and proper protocols for the safety of our team members and customers,” a Meijer spokesperson said in an statement to WoodTV.com. 

The organization continued by explaining that it is taking necessary precautions to make sure the disease does not spread between team members or to other store locations. 

“We cannot disclose any specific information about the affected individuals,” the email statement read. “As cases have been confirmed, we have communicated the information to all our team members at the location and continue to follow detailed and proper protocols for the safety of our team members and customers. Ensuring the safety and health of our team members, customers and community is our top priority.”

Currently Michigan has the third most cases of COVID-19 in the nation with 689 confirmed cases in Washtenaw County, where one of the Meijer stores is located. 

Daily News Editor Ben Rosenfeld can be reached at bbrosenf@umich.edu

Editor's Note: This story and the headline has been updated to include the first reported detahs of workers at Kroger and Meijer.