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2 employees at spice manufacturing facility in Apopka die from COVID-19

Plant temporarily shut down

Medical workers take a break at a coronavirus mobile test site in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The Indonesian Election Commission has decided to postpone preparations for Sept. 23, 2020, regional elections until at least December later this year after a number of organizers got sick with virus. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Medical workers take a break at a coronavirus mobile test site in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The Indonesian Election Commission has decided to postpone preparations for Sept. 23, 2020, regional elections until at least December later this year after a number of organizers got sick with virus. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

APOPKA, Fla. – Two employees at a spice manufacturing facility in Apopka have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the company.

El Chilar, which produces spices and herbs as well as Mexican snacks and sweets, announced the deaths Wednesday.

“The El Chilar team was deeply saddened when families shared that two employees passed away while the manufacturing facility was closed. We grieve the loss of these valued team members who were colleagues and friends. The company respects the privacy of our employees and their families and will not share health-related information about specific employees,” the statement read.

A company representative said the plant was shut down after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The statement, however, did not indicate when operations seized at the location and how many employees have fallen ill.

“The company has worked with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. Employees were promptly notified and encouraged to be tested for COVID-19. The manufacturing operations remain closed at this time,” officials said.

The Orlando Sentinel was the first to report the deaths.

On April 24, Florida Department of Health in Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino mentioned a small outbreak in Apopka but did provide specifics on where the cases were located.

“One of the small outbreaks that we have is in Apopka. It’s under control, we are watching it,” Pino said during a news conference.

Pino defined a small outbreak as more than two cases that are linked and have a shared source of transmission.

Records show that as of Wednesday, 53 cases have been reported in the 32712 zip code, which is where El Chilar is located. There have been 1,392 COVID-19 patients in Orange County since the pandemic began.


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