3 employees of Elgin-based nut company test positive for COVID-19

  • Two of the John B. Sanfilippo & Sons employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus work in Elgin. The third works in Georgia.

      Two of the John B. Sanfilippo & Sons employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus work in Elgin. The third works in Georgia. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2007

 
 
Updated 4/14/2020 6:27 PM

Three cases of COVID-19 were reported among employees of nut company John B. Sanfilippo & Sons, including two at its main plant in Elgin.

One of the Elgin employees is a plant worker who has been in self-quarantine since March 31, while the other works in an office and has returned to work after recovering, said Howard Brandeisky, the company's senior vice president of global marketing and customer solutions. The third employee works at the plant in Bainbridge, Georgia, and tested positive sometime in March, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Elgin headquarters employs nearly 1,200 of the company's roughly 1,500 employees. At 1 million square feet, it is deemed the largest nut manufacturing facility in North America, if not the world, Brandeisky said.

The company has three more plants in California, Texas and North Carolina, and it produces nuts under the brands Fisher, Orchard Valley Harvest, Hunter Mix and more.

The company, which already had been doing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, did a deep cleaning of all the areas the affected employees came into contact with and asked others who came into contact with them to self-quarantine for 14 days, Brandeisky said.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is not allowed on site. This week, the company started to screen employees, including for their temperatures, at the start of their shifts.

The company has followed guidelines from federal and state health authorities in asking employees to work from home if they can and practicing social distancing, Brandeisky said.

"We are taking every precaution to keep everybody safe," he said.

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