The Good Shepherd Food Bank of Hampden has shut down and will reopen Thursday after an employee last on site on Sept. 1 tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Tuesday.
All of the employees and volunteers who might have come in contact with the worker have been notified, according to Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank.
The Good Shepherd storefront in Auburn is open for those who need service in lieu of the closure of the Hampden location, she said.
“The health and safety of our employees and community is our top priority. We are taking a more aggressive approach than required and necessary, but we think it’s the appropriate response for this specific situation due to the nature of the employee’s role,” Miale said in a statement. “As front-line responders in the midst of a global pandemic, it was never a question of ‘if’ the Food Bank staff would be directly impacted, but ‘when.’ With an abundance of caution, the Food Bank is temporarily suspending operations at our Hampden location for two days to conduct a deep clean.”
In accordance with guidance from the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the Food Bank has been monitoring staff for signs of the virus and working to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while distributing food to its partners.
Since the pandemic began, the Food Bank has increased its food distribution statewide and remained fully operational, servicing a network of more than 500 partner agencies, including food pantries, meal sites, school partners and health care centers. In the last year, the Food Bank distributed 29.3 million meals — four million more than the prior year.
With the resumption of normal operations on Thursday, most deliveries from Hampden will be completed according to schedule, but if delivery schedules change, the Food Bank will contact the partner agency directly. According to the CDC, coronaviruses are generally spread through respiratory droplets, not through fresh and prepared food.