Kroger said four workers in Michigan have died after becoming infected and getting sick from COVID-19.
The employees worked in four separate stores in Northville, Troy, Grosse Pointe and Livonia, the company said.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of four Kroger family members," a Kroger spokeswoman said. "We are mourning along with their families during this extraordinarily difficult time."
Kroger is the nation's largest supermarket chain. Besides Kroger stores, the grocer operates several regional supermarket chains in 35 states, including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Mariano's, Fry's, Smith's, King Soopers, QFC and others. The company employs 460,000 workers nationwide and operates nearly 2,800 stores.
Michigan has been one of the harder-hit states by the coronavirus so far with nearly 25,000 confirmed cases as of Monday, compared to 6,500 in Ohio, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kroger said it would make mental health and grief counselors available to support our associates. The company said its efforts to safeguard workers and the public continue.
So far in Greater Cincinnati, four employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. One each worked at the following stores:
• Harrison, 10477 Harrison Avenue, Harrison, Ohio
• Middletown, 3420 Towne Boulevard, Middletown, Ohio
• Finneytown, 8421 Winton Road, Cincinnati, Ohio
• Batesville, 1034 State Road 229 North, Batesville, Indiana
Last week, Kroger took one of its most aggressive steps toward containing the outbreak: Limiting the number of shoppers in each store. The company also announced it would provide a steady supply of masks and gloves for store workers.
Also in recent weeks, Kroger has taken other precautions, such as installing Plexiglas partitions and educational floor decals, reminding customers to keep their distance from one another and airing of a healthy habits message via in-store radio to encourage customers to practice good hygiene and spatial awareness.
Kroger has reserved special shopping times for senior customers and others more vulnerable to infection in Cincinnati and other markets. The company has also cut operating hours in several markets to allow extra cleaning and restocking.