6 Amazon workers test positive for coronavirus, report says

USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey gives a lowdown on the companies going through massive hiring sprees and why not to worry about your utility bill. USA TODAY

Six warehouse workers for Amazon have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to The Washington Post.

As much of the nation has depended upon Amazon for vital access to products, workers at facilities in New York City, Jacksonville, Florida, Shepherdsville, Kentucky, Katy, Texas, Brownstown, Michigan and Oklahoma City were infected with the coronavirus, the Post reported on Tuesday.

"In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some co-workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined."

Workers at Amazon warehouses in Italy and Spain have also tested positive. In response, some 1,500 Amazon employees signed a petition that urged Amazon to take more steps to protect them, according to the Post. 

In a letter to employees on Friday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, "There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and I know this causes stress for everyone." 

Bezos went on to add that the company is implementing "a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world – everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines. We are meeting every day, working to identify additional ways to improve on these measures."

“We are supporting the individuals, following guidelines from local officials, and taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of all the employees at our sites," said Amazon in a statement.  

Jobs: Amazon to hire 100,000 workers to assist with online deliveries 

The company also recently announced that it was seeking to hire as many as 100,000 new workers to deal with the onslaught of orders coming in. Because of the backlog, many Amazon orders that normally arrived within two days have been backed up at least 30 days. 

The tech giant said it looked to invest over $350 million globally with the new hires and would increase pay by $2 an hour in the U.S.

Amazon has stated that employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine would receive up to two weeks of pay. "This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay." 

In a statement to the Florida Times-Union earlier in March, Amazon confirmed that one of its employees got infected, and said the worker was receiving medical care and is in quarantine.

And according to The Atlantic, workers at the New York facility found out about one of their co-workers getting infected through a text. "We're writing to let you know that a positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found at our facility today."

Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/03/24/covid-19-hits-6-amazon-warehouse-employees-reports-say/2913396001/

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