Washington State USPS Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

March 1, 2020 Updated: March 1, 2020
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A Seattle-area U.S. Postal Service worker has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, said officials in an announcement that came hours after the first American coronavirus fatality was confirmed in Washington state.

A USPS corporate communications spokesperson told KIRO7 over the weekend that the employee works at a Seattle Network Distribution Center located in Federal Way near Seattle. The distribution center is a mail processing plant that handles USPS marketing mail and package services in piece and bulk form.

Officials told the station that the center does not handle letter mail, and letter mail isn’t delivered to the facility.

The USPS spokesperson said that the risk to other distribution center employees is low.

“The Network Distribution Center does not handle letter mail—only parcels. No mail is delivered from the facility. It is sorted and transported to individual post offices, from which the parcels are delivered to customers. The employee in question works within the facility. The employee would have some contact with other employees in the work environment,” the USPS statement said in full.

Following the Saturday coronavirus death, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency because the state needs to “prepare for what could likely be a worldwide pandemic.”

“This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state,” Inslee said on Saturday.

Federal and Washington state health officials confirmed that a man in his 50s with underlying health problems died of COVID-19, the disease the new coronavirus causes, at the EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, near Seattle.