Two workers at same Walmart store die of coronavirus

National Coronavirus Coverage

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WGN) — Two employees at a Walmart store near Chicago have died from COVID-19, the company confirmed on Sunday.

Mayor Jim Sexton said Friday that he inquired about the deaths of Phillip Thomas, 48, and Wando Evans, 51, several days ago after it was reported on social media that they both fell ill.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families,” an emailed statement from the company reads. “There are no words to express the loss of the two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning alongside their families.”

The company said neither associate has been in the store in more than a week.

“Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection,” the company said in a statement.

As a result of the incident, Sexton suspended the liquor license of the Walmart and asked the county to investigate the matter further.

Phillip Thomas would have turned 49 on Easter. He worked at the Walmart for the last nine years. However, a few weeks ago, he got sick and could barely stand up without fainting. He died Sunday while hospitalized from complications related to COVID-19.

“This is the first sibling that we lost, and my mother is devastated,” his sister, Angela McMiller, told WGN.

She said doctors told Thomas to self-quarantine before admitting him.

“I’m truly upset with the doctors because they told him to self-quarantine himself, but he was a diabetic, so he didn’t know all that was going on,” Angela McMiller said.

Wando Evans was an overnight maintenance worker employed since 2006. He recently contracted COVID-19 and died.

The store is open and the company said the store passed an inspection from the health department. An outside company was also hired for additional cleaning, Walmart said.

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