Amazon confirmed a worker at its Everett distribution center has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The case marks the second infection the company has confirmed in one of its Seattle-area warehouses, and one of dozens across its U.S. fulfillment and distribution network.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed Sunday an employee at the company’s “DSE4” distribution center on Associated Boulevard in Everett tested positive. Delivery drivers pick up packages at the 92,000-square-foot facility, taking them on the final leg of their journey to customers in North Seattle and Everett.
Neither the Everett distribution center nor the Kent fulfillment center were closed for cleaning – a cause of concern for some employees there and at other Amazon facilities that haven’t been closed after employees tested positive. That was one of the complaints of employees who walked off the job at a Staten Island warehouse last week.
Amazon has described stepped-up cleaning measures across its facilities and says it has followed the guidance of medical and public health experts in determining whether to close facilities.
“We’re continuing to monitor the situation in our facilities and corporate offices, and we are taking proactive measures to protect employees and associates who have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed or becomes ill,” Amazon said in a statement. “Like most global companies, we’ve had employees affected by this, and we’re doing all that we can to protect our employees and take the proper precautions as stated in [World Health Organization] guidelines.”
Amazon employees, speaking on condition of anonymity because they fear retaliation, continue to report uneven enforcement of the company’s stated policies around social distancing. Meanwhile, they say warehouse managers continue to emphasize productivity — the company is experiencing surging demand coupled with supply and work force disruptions — while leaving insufficient time for employees to clean their own work stations as required.
The company is allowing employees to take as much unpaid time off as they wish and said it is offering up to two weeks paid time off for those who test positive for COVID-19 or who are placed in quarantine. But many employees report difficulty obtaining a test and negotiating with Amazon’s human resources bureaucracy in order to apply for paid time off.