Orgill

The Orgill facility in Kilgore is seen in 2012.

Two employees at the Orgill distribution facility in Kilgore have tested positive for COVID-19, a company official said Friday.

Gregory Stine, Orgill Inc. Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, said the company’s distribution center in Synergy Park remains operational after it was cleaned following the positive tests. Other employees who came into contact with the infected workers are being quarantined.

“There are two employees that work at the Kilgore distribution center and they tested positive and are now getting appropriate medical care,” Stine said. “The few people these employees came into contact with ... have also been asked to self-quarantine, and the related work areas have been thoroughly cleaned.”

The infected employees’ symptoms are mild, he said.

It was not clear if the positive cases had already been reported as part of a count in Northeast Texas or which county they originated from.

Memphis-based Orgill is the world’s largest independent hardlines distributor that serves more than 6,000 retail hardware stores, home centers, pro lumber dealers and farm stores throughout the U.S., Canada and more than 50 other countries.

The Kilgore facility serves Orgill’s customers in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and portions of Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri, according to the company’s North American Distribution Network map.

The distribution center remains operational and is supplying needed supplies for essential businesses throughout the region, according to a statement issued Friday.

Orgill began monitoring and planning ahead near the start of 2020 to minimize supply chain disruption as the COVID-19 situation evolved overseas, affecting product manufacturers, according the statement. About a month ago, the company implemented a work-from-home policy for its headquarters and distribution center employees who are able to work remotely.

In mid-March, the company “implemented social distancing procedures in our distributions centers, on the road and in our customers’ businesses. For example, we implemented a new touchless proof of delivery (POD) system that is utilized when our drivers make store deliveries. We also introduced new cleaning and disinfecting protocols in our distribution centers,” according to the statement.

Roughly 85% of Orgill’s workforce at the home office is working from home full time.

The company has also asked sales representatives and field teams to maintain contact with their customers but not engage in personal visits.

“However, a significant portion of our work providing essential supplies cannot be done from home, which is why we are taking extensive safety and health precautions to protect all of our employees in our distribution centers, on the road and in our customers’ stores and businesses. These measures include frequent cleaning/disinfecting of work areas and facilities and adjusting our operating procedures to follow social distancing guidelines to help protect employees, customers, vendors, partners and citizens,” according to the statement.

Jimmy Daniell Isaac covers the city of Longview and Gregg County. Follow him on Twitter: @jimmyisaaclives.