BALTIMORE – The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among postal workers in the Baltimore area stands at 11, according to the Baltimore District spokesperson.
Employees are from Glenwood Post Office, Ellicott City Post Office, Dundalk Station, Brooklyn South Station, Carroll Station, Baltimore Fulfillment and Distribution Center, Hampden Station, Highlandtown Station and Windsor Mill Post Offices.
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In a cellphone video taken last week, the acting Baltimore postmaster told U.S. Postal Service employees that there had been a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Highlandtown branch.
“On April 7, we learned that an employee at the Highlandtown train station had tested positive for COVID-19,” Eric Gilbert said. “We believe the risk is low for employees who work at Highlandtown Station, but we will keep you posted as we receive further information.”
As Gilbert tells the crowd that other workers are at minimal risk of exposure, someone in the crowd says “no”.
A Baltimore area postal worker contacted WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii to raise concerns about the lack of protective equipment provided to workers.
“Our office now has gloves. They have a box of masks, which is probably 50 in a box,” he said. “We provide, I would say, 90 percent of our own materials to clean our trucks, to clean our office, we do what we can to get out of here.”
He asked her to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job if he had spoken out.
He added that while the USPS has granted liberal leave to employees who may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and those without child care, he believes many absences are due to concerns about limited resources.
“About a third of our force that’s not at work right now because of what’s going on,” he said. “I know most of them are just worried that we don’t have the right equipment.”
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In an emailed statement, the USPS said it distributes millions of masks, gloves, and cleaning and disinfection products to more than 30,000 locations, however, hazard reports filed by employees show that these items are rare.
A report filed by an employee states that he has nothing to wipe down the door latches, handles, steering wheels.
Under “supervisor action” on the form, the response is “wipes are out of stock. Please use the supplies we have available.
In another report, the supervisor writes “the masks are out of stock” and in response to complaints about the lack of hand sanitizer, the response is “out of stock at the moment”.
“I think our biggest fear is not necessarily that we are contracting a virus, but passing it on to our clients. I mean we are dealing with between 500 and 1,200 clients per day per person and that’s right. this person that you can infect and I guess make it sick per se. I think we are trying to avoid that as much as possible, “said the worker.
In a voicemail message sent to all USPS employees in the Capital Metropolitan Area, one woman said, “Postal workers have always stepped up in times of crisis and we thank you for serving the nation.”
Among the many important items that postal carriers deliver are essential medicines and social security checks.
The worker said he wanted to continue doing his job by providing this essential service, but he wants to know that his safety has also become a priority.
“We’re not heard at all. And I think that’s why I’m here. We all love our jobs, we want to work, but we need a safe environment and that’s the result,” a- he declared.
He added that the cleaning supplies from the public have been a great help and that they appreciate all donations.
Can the coronavirus travel by mail?
Regarding the spread of the coronavirus through the mail, the CDC, the World Health Organization and the Surgeon General have all indicated that there is no evidence that this is happening.
And according to the CDC, “In general, due to the poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is probably a very low risk of spreading from products or packaging shipped over a period of days or weeks. at room temperature. It is generally believed that coronaviruses are spread most often by respiratory droplets. ”
American Post in financial difficulty
As workers try to stay safe on the job, the Postal Service tries to make sure they keep their jobs.
Last week, the Postmaster General warned lawmakers that the pandemic had caused billions of dollars in lost revenue and that the agency would be strapped for cash by the end of September if Congress did not provide financial aid.
If you have a problem for Mallory, she wants to hear from you. You can email her using the form below, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.