McPHERSON – As McPherson County officials late Thursday announced the number of cases in the county has climbed to 13, they warned that the newest cases are considered due to community spread and an employee at a local grocery store is among those infected.


The employee of the Dillons Store at 1320 N. Main was not symptomatic at work, but worked immediately before becoming ill, according to a health department release.


People who had been in the store between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. March 31 and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 may have been exposed to the virus, and if they become ill with the symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their medical provider, the release stated.


Anyone with symptoms, which include fever, shortness of breath, or a cough, and may also include malaise, sore throat, and diarrhea, should call their health care provider. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.


"We’ve been informed by an associate at our McPherson store who has tested positive for COVID-19," Dillons spokeswoman Sheila Lowrie stated in the release. "We are supporting our associate with an emergency paid leave and share our best for a quick recovery."


"Upon learning of this case, we followed all sanitation and cleaning procedures as recommended by the CDC, and communicated with and supported our store team," Lowrie continued. "We will continue to follow guidance from local, state and federal agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations."


The health department stated in the release that it is likely the disease is now being spread person-to-person in the community because at least five cases have no history of travel.


State health officials on Monday, when the count was still at nine confirmed positives, indicated a cluster of at least five of the cases involved a single facility in the county, though the facility was not identified.


Anyone who develops the symptoms but is not ill enough to seek medical care should stay home at least 7 days after the symptoms started or for 72 hours after all fever is gone, the release stated.