- Of the 1,372,000 million employees working for Amazon and Whole Foods, 19,816 "have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19," according to an Oct. 1 announcement from the company.
- Amazon said it is currently "conducting thousands of tests a day" and ramping up "to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November." The Seattle-based company, also the second-largest private employer in the United States, said it is making its own tests with the help of a response team it created consisting of "research scientists," "program managers," "procurement specialists" and software engineers.
- Amazon projected it would have seen 33,952 cases if the rate of infection for its employees was the same as for the general population.
Amazon had resisted publicly releasing its data, with Dave Clark, senior vice president of global operations, saying it "isn't particularly useful because it's relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate." Jay Carney, the former press secretary to President Barack Obama who CNN called "Amazon's top spokesperson," told the network "I don't have a specific number."
Amazon workers and labor advocacy groups have called for the company to release coronavirus case data, insisting that they have a right to know, especially given that at least 10 workers have died, according to reporting from NBC which it said Amazon confirmed.
In May, workers from one of the company's facilities in Staten Island sued the company, and the attorneys general from 12 states and the District of Columbia wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey asking them to address reports of working conditions in warehouses, including workplace health measures, compliance with sick leave laws, employee data on infection and more. This came in the wake of employees being fired for protesting working conditions and a company vice president leaving in protest of the firings.
While many companies are struggling during the pandemic, Amazon's revenues have risen significantly during the pandemic and the company maintains robust plans for hiring. The company has been opening primary care centers on or near-site for employees since July.
Employers that are starting to reopen workplaces during this time should be aware of local and federal guidelines as well as the tools and practices available to them such as contact tracing, and compliance with FFCRA leave so that workers feel comfortable missing time if they are having symptoms. Ultimately, employment attorneys that spoke with HR Dive anticipate "breathtaking" changes to HR policy as a result of the pandemic.