East Texas Food Bank releases statement on COVID-19

The following statement has been released by the East Texas Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullinane on April 2.

The East Texas Food Bank’s priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to continue to provide emergency food assistance for our 26-county coverage area, which is seeing a significant increase in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In coordination with Feeding AmericaFeeding Texas, CDC and NETHealth, the East Texas Food Bank has been actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and clients as we continue to serve our community during this critical time.

On Wednesday April 1, the East Texas Food Bank became aware that a staff member working in our administrative office, which is separate from our warehouse and volunteer center, tested positive for COVID-19.  The staff member developed symptoms on March 24, and following CDC guidelines, left the food bank immediately and has been self-quarantined since then.

ETFB had initiated social distancing and remote work on March 16.  Because of this, the exposure risk to staff was very low. The staff member had no close contact with clients, partner agencies or volunteers when they were symptomatic.

The ETFB administrative office has been temporarily closed to be thoroughly cleaned by a professional company. The East Texas Food Bank has been and will continue to follow guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control, Feeding America and NETHealth to protect clients, partner agencies and volunteers from exposure.

Our Volunteer Center remains open and fully operational. We will continue our proactive health safety measures such as mandating the use of gloves for packing and sorting, sanitizing high-touch common surfaces and requiring staff and encouraging volunteers and staff to wash and sanitize hands every 2 hours as well as before and after shifts or when entering or leaving the production floor.

Our thoughts are with our employee, their family and with all our frontline staff at the East Texas Food Bank who are continuing to provide access to food for our neighbors in this critical time. We are also wishing a quick recovery to our employee.