Mail Handlers and postal workers from around the country continue to courageously perform essential federal service under the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When I last reported to you on June 26, 2020 the COVID-19 reports issued by the Postal Service showed 1,127 postal workers who had tested positive and 341 employees who had been presumed to be positive for a total of 1,468 infected employees. The number of postal employees in quarantine were 3,533. Just 2 weeks prior (June 11, 2020) reflected that there were 765 postal workers who were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and 284 employees presumed to be positive for a total of 1,049 infected employees. The numbers reflected an increase of almost 40% in infected postal employees over that two-week period. The latest numbers (as of July 23, 2020) are alarming. They show 2,600 postal workers who have tested positive and 667 employees who have been presumed to be positive for a total of 3,267 infected employees. The number of postal employees in quarantine is 6,272. Unfortunately, at least 75 postal workers have died because of COVID-19, including 4 Mail Handlers. The numbers reflect an increase of over 122% in infected postal employees over the June 26 numbers and an increase of over 211% over the June 11 numbers. While the numbers in the Northeast and East continue to improve, the numbers in other parts of the country, especially in those jurisdictions where face covering and social distancing policies are not strictly enforced, are worsening at a disturbing rate. The increase in the infection rate is occurring at precisely the same time as more and more postal employees are returning to work. The availability rates in many postal installations continue to rise and stands at 78% nationwide. The Pre-COVID rate was 84% and the COVID low was 70%, although certain installations showed a much lower availability rate.
This means that this crisis is far from over. The numbers are getting worse, they are not getting better. There is no real end in sight. We must remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and our co-workers. The stabilizing of the infection rate in the Northeast and East proves that the protocols put in place work. We must continue to follow these protocols, especially those concerning social distancing and the wearing of face coverings and masks.