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With Amazon already under fire for providing allegedly unsafe work conditions in its distribution centers and warehouses in the U.S. and Europe, another worker at the Jeff Bezos-led company has tested positive for COVID-19.
A worker at the Amazon fulfillment center in Moreno Valley, Calif., tested positive, according to CBS Los Angeles. The town’s mayor, Yxstian Gutierrez, confirmed the positive diagnosis in a statement on Wednesday.
“A worker in one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Moreno Valley has tested positive for Covid-19,” Gutierrez said in the statement. “It is not known if the worker lives in the City of Moreno Valley because everyone’s personal medical information is considered private. The worker is undergoing treatment, and several co-workers have been directed to self-quarantine and are under observation by health officials.”
(AP Photo/Scott Sady)
A person familiar with the situation said Amazon would alert any employee who had come into close contact with the person and ask them to not return to the site and self-quarantine for 14 days. The person added they would be paid during the time off.
The worker in Moreno Valley marks the latest Amazon warehouse worker to contract the virus, attracting the ire of politicians, notably Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Sanders, who is still running to be the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election, sent an email to his supporters on March 25 requesting them to sign a petition asking Bezos to protect his workers.
“Despite the best practices advice from public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic, reports indicate that workers are still forced to stand together in close quarters; there are not enough disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer in warehouses; and there is not extra cleaning of the warehouses,” the email states.
Sanders also noted that a worker at an Amazon New York City warehouse was diagnosed with the virus on March 24.
An Amazon spokesperson told Fox News the company is aiding the employee who is recovering. “We are following guidelines from health officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site,” the spokesman said via email, pointing Fox News to a company blog post on methods it is taking to protect its employees and partners.
Earlier this month, a group of four U.S. senators, including Sanders and Cory Booker, D-N.J., wrote a letter to Bezos expressing their concern about the health and safety of Amazon warehouses’ workers.
The Washington Post, which is also owned by Bezos, reported that Amazon workers at 10 warehouses around the country have tested positive for COVID-19.
Last week, an Amazon warehouse worker in Queens, N.Y., tested positive for the disease known as COVID-19. It was the first known case of an Amazon warehouse employee being affected by the virus.
On March 11, Amazon announced it would give all employees diagnosed with COVID-19 – and those placed into quarantine – up to two weeks of pay.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the additional pay is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health. Amazon is also providing unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of the month.
The source added the company has implemented a number of preventative health measures for all of its workers, including increasing the frequency and cleaning of all sites, ensuring social distancing is being practiced, staggering shift times and enabling a temporary cell phone process for those who need to be in contact with family members or childcare providers.
In addition, Bezos wrote Amazon had placed purchase orders for “millions of face masks” for their employees and contractors who are unable to work from home. “Very few” of the orders have been filled, Bezos acknowledged, as constraints are ongoing around the world and priority is being given to health care professionals.
Amazon recently announced it would hire an additional 100,000 workers and raise their hourly pay to help with the recent surge in demand due to the pandemic.
Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Lissa Kaplan contributed to this story.
This story has been updated to include Amazon’s response.