Employees at an Amazon warehouse in Queens, New York found out on Monday that a fellow worker was diagnosed with the coronavirus. "We’re writing to let you know that a positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found at our facility today," read the text that they received concerning the issue.
Amazon has already been struggling to meet demand with the closure of many retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. This is the first confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis of a warehouse employee.
Amazon spokesperson Rena Lunak told The Atlantic that there was indeed a positive case at the facility, but chose not to disclose the person's identity.
"We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine," she said. "In addition to our enhanced daily deep cleaning, we've temporarily closed the Queens delivery station for additional sanitation and have sent associates home with full pay."
The warehouse workers already felt like they were being underpaid for the risky job of working in close proximity to others during a potentially life-threatening pandemic.
"This clearly shows a disregard for our health and safety," said Jonathan Bailey, an employee at the Queens warehouse.
On Monday, Amazon announced that it would be hiring 100,000 more workers to meet growing demands while adding $2 to the workers' hourly pay rate.