3 Postal Workers In Greater Jacksonville Area Have Tested Positive For COVID-19
Three people who work at postal facilities in the Jacksonville area have tested positive for coronavirus, a United States Postal Service (USPS) spokesman confirmed to WJCT News.
Two are USPS employees: one at the Jacksonville Processing and Distribution Center and one at the Jacksonville Network Distribution Center. The third is a contractor at the Ponte Vedra Beach post office.
“We are in the process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide,” said USPS spokesman Floyd Wagoner. “We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Jacksonville Processing and Distribution Center and the Jacksonville Network Distribution Center, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.”
Wagoner declined to tell WJCT News what the Ponte Vedra Beach contractor’s position is or who employs the person. He would only say the person is not directly employed by the Postal Service.
In regard to how the facilities are responding, Wagoner referred WJCT News to the USPS’ media statement on coronavirus, which outlines the steps the agency is taking to reduce health risks for its employees (which number 600,000 nationwide) and safeguard its operations. Those measures include:
- Ensuring millions of masks, gloves and cleaning and sanitizing product are available and distributed to more than 30,000 locations.
- Reinforcing workplace behaviors to ensure that contact among employees and with customers reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions, social distancing, and risk minimization. Measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities include signage, floor tape and “cough/sneeze” barriers.
- Changing delivery procedures to eliminate the requirement that customers sign Mobile Delivery Devices for delivery. For increased safety, employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door or door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the door.
- Updating leave policies to allow liberal use of leave and give employees the ability to stay home whenever they feel sick, must provide dependent care, or any other qualifying factor under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including providing 80 hours of paid leave to non-career employees for issues related to COVID-19, and have expanded the definition of sick leave for dependent care for covered employees to deal with the closures of primary and secondary schools across the country.
- Expanding the use of telework for those employees who are able to perform their jobs remotely.
According to the World Health Organization, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and been exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
According to the CDC, “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets.”
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the USPS is asking federal lawmakers for as much as $89 billion in cash infusions to help it weather the financial storm.
Contact Heather Schatz at email@example.com.