LAUGHLIN — The Colorado River Food Bank is closed temporarily after a volunteer for the nonprofit food distribution agency tested positive for COVID-19.
The food bank closure began Monday and will be in effect indefinitely, “dependent upon the ability to obtain negative test results for all other volunteers working for the organization,” said a news release from the Laughlin-based agency that also has a branch in Searchlight.
Because the volunteer who tested positive had been in both locations, both will be idled.
“Because the volunteer who tested positive has not been at the CRFB for several days, and because of the extreme sanitation protocol measures taken by the staff every day to sanitize all areas of the facilities, the CRFB is confident that no virus is on any surfaces within the facilities,” the news release said.
“However, it is not possible to know if any other volunteers of the CRFB at either branch could have been infected through community spread working near this individual. So, in an abundance of caution, for the safety and well-being of all volunteers and clients of the CRFB, a negative COVID-19 test result will be required of all volunteers prior to returning to either of the facilities. If a negative test result cannot be produced by a volunteer, that person will be asked not to return to the CRFB for a period of 14 days of being symptom-free.”
“We know this closure may cause some challenges for members of the community during this difficult time of the pandemic, but the safety of our customers and volunteers must come first,” said Mike Jackson, president of the Colorado River Food Bank board of directors. “As soon as we have a sufficient number of volunteers who test negative to handle the day-to-day operation, we will re-open.
“The support of the community to the CRFB operation has been overwhelming since the virus hit, and that gives us the obligation to make sure we reopen as soon as we can do so safety.”
Weighing heavily on the decision is the fact that “a high percentage” of the food bank’s clients — and most of its volunteers — are part of the at-risk population of senior citizens and those with underlying health issues.
“The CRFB does not take this closure lightly, and understands that many members of the community rely on the services of the CRFB for daily nutritional sustenance,” the news statement said. “The safety of all members of the community are of utmost importance, and until there can be full confidence that the entire volunteer staff is COVID-free, it is more prudent in the interim to close.”
Nevada senior citizens eligible for Summer Food Service Program commodities, which were scheduled to be distributed on Monday, still will receive these commodities when the CRFB reopens.
Any member of the Arizona community who usually visits the Colorado River Food Bank to receive The Emergency Food Assistance Program food provisions may visit Food For Families at 590 Hancock Road in Bullhead City for the same food products they would have received at the Laughlin food bank.
The Colorado River Food Bank will notify the area media when a reopening date is determined and also will update any other changes in hours of operation or available services.