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Amazon is diligently ramping up their COVID-19 testing for workers in their warehouses.
According to experts within Amazon, the company’s plan is to test a majority of the warehouse workers on a 2-week basis. [i] Amazon, like most other retailers, has adopted many safety measures as they continue to stay open and busy through this pandemic. Amazon currently employs 125,000 full-time employees at its North American facilities and many more. [ii] Back in April, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company would soon begin “regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms.” [ii]
Plans For The Future
In addition to collecting results by nasal swabs. Amazon is planning on developing a standalone diagnostic lab in several sites. The first ones being in California and Kentucky. [i] Amazon is looking into other methods of testing workers for COVID-19. Some of these methods include measuring oxygen levels, respiratory symptoms, and more regular and extensive temperature checks. [i] Employees who test positive to COVID-19 are then referred to a company called Grand Rounds. Grand Rounds provides online medical consultations where a medical professional offers advice and next steps. [i]
Grand Rounds can also provide Amazon employees with documentation for a 2-week paid quarantine leave. Although, there has still be a significant amount of problems with many employees paid sick leave. [i] According to CNBC, at least eight Amazon employees have died across the compan. 50 of its fulfillment centers worldwide have reported positive cases. [iii]
During this pandemic, a typical workday for an Amazon employee has undergone changes. Experts predict an indefinite continuation of this situation. For instance, around 80% of employees presently utilize an app to log their work hours. The company has also decreased the capacity of eating and break areas. Moreover, the staff cleans handrails inside the facility eight times per shift. [iii]
Employee opinions regarding Amazon’s pandemic-related decisions are varied. They span from strong dissatisfaction to high satisfaction. Moreover, Amazon is establishing stations to facilitate regular self-testing for the coronavirus among employees, with a focus on self-service functionality. “We utilize a variety of data to closely monitor the safety of our buildings and there is strong evidence that our employees are not proliferating the virus at work,” said Kelly Cheeseman, director of external communications for Amazon worldwide operations. [iv] It is guesstimated that Amazon has racked up at least $4 billion in coronavirus costs. [iv]
How is Amazon Sticking Up For Employees?
“Amazon’s temporary unlimited unpaid time off policy was replaced in May. Now, if employees need to miss work to care for a family member or if they are at elevated risk from COVID-19, they can apply for leaves of absence.” [iv]
As everyone faces testing shortages across the world, companies as large as Amazon are determined to find other ways to test their employees. Especially now, as businesses are being urged to open back up, numbers are beginning to increase again. It is important for employees to get tested regularly and remain healthy.
Amazon described its effort as “building incremental testing capacity” and acknowledged the uncertainty of the venture. “We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant timeframe, but we think it’s worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn with others,” the company said. [iv]
Public Health with COVID-19
Experts say that as people stay indoors but are required to work in the office, this alone is causing the virus to spread more than people being out in public. With more than 5 million Americans infected, congress is talking about another relief package to help American citizens. Staying informed is vital to fighting this virus. Head on over to our blog to read more about industry updates from the experts.
Rogers Electric and COVID-19
Rogers Electric is committed to striving for safety during COVID-19. Our electrician and client safety is our top priority.