Coronavirus deaths: Walmart to limit number of shoppers in stores after 2 Evergreen Park employees die of COVID-19

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- We're seeing more and more efforts to protect people from COVID-19, but the number of confirmed cases is still growing.

Friday night, the number of cases in Illinois jumped to more than 9,000, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, and 210 people have died from the virus statewide.

Coronavirus Illinois Update: Latest news on COVID-19 cases, Chicago area impact

Two of the most recent casualties includes two Walmart employees who worked at the same store at 95th and Western in Evergreen Park.

Starting Saturday, Walmart is taking new action to protect customers and employees who are still reporting to work. One of those new measures includes limiting the number of shoppers in stores.

Walmart said neither of these employees had been at the store for at least a week and the company said no issues were reported after a health department inspection.

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The two men were identified as 51-year-old Wando Evans and 48-year-old Phillip Thomas.

48-year-old Phillip Thomas died due to complications of COVID-19. He was one of two Evergreen Park Walmart employees who died from the coronavirus.


According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, both men died from COVID-19 infection, as well as pneumonia. They both also had an underlying health condition listed as a contributing factor.

Walmart said it has since installed social distancing signage and is bringing in an outside company for additional cleaning and sanitizing.

FULL STATEMENT FROM WALMART

"We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families. While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas of the store. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection. We have also taken the extra precaution of bringing in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.

"Additionally, we have taken steps across the country to protect our associates and customers, including additional cleaning measures, installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing decals on the floors and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time. We'll continue to take steps, such as screening associates, conducting temperature checks, and providing masks and gloves for associates that want to use them.

"We've been in contact with Mayor Sexton and after sharing the steps that we've taken, we are able to continue serving the needs of the community."


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