LYNN - As the nation first learned about Coronavirus-2019, many did not believe it would get to Small Town, U.S.A. However, it has infiltrated the country, going from one to nearly 1,000 cases in Alabama as of press time Monday, including two residents of Winston County. A U.S. Postal Service employee at the Lynn Post Office, a non-Winston resident, has now tested positive.
Residents of Lynn became alarmed Friday, March 27, when a Facebook post led to widespread knowledge of a Lynn postal employee testing positive for the virus.
Debra Fetterly, spokesperson with the U.S. Postal Service Alabama District, released the following statement to the Alabamian.
“The U.S. Postal Service has learned that an employee at the Lynn Post Office tested positive for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We are in the process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide. We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Lynn Post Office, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.”
“Most people in our area are aware of an employee at the Lynn Post Office testing positive for the coronavirus,” Marcia Manasco, town clerk, stated. “The doors to the retail lobby were locked Friday and Saturday. I’m sure the USPS has done everything in their power to make sure the entire post office has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. As of today, (Monday, March 30), the retail office is open for business.”
HIPAA regulations prevent the name of the employee and his or her medical conditions being released to the public. The USPS is taking precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The United States Postal Service has a dedicated COVID-19 Command Response leadership team that is focusing on employee, operational, business and customer continuity during this unprecedented epidemic. We continue to follow the strategies and measures recommended by the CDC and public health departments. The CDC has information available on its website at coronavirus.gov that provides the latest information about COVID-19.
“On the employee front, we are sharing the latest information throughout our organization via video, e-mail, internal newsletters, employee conversations and through our operations and human resources functions – and we will continue to do so. We are encouraging healthy behaviors and protocols, including frequent hand washing, use of sanitizers and additional cleaning of work spaces, and are encouraging any employee who feels they are sick to stay home. We are offering liberal leave and have worked with our postal unions to temporarily expand leave options for our employees.
“To reduce health risks, we also are temporarily modifying customer signature capture procedures. While maintaining a safe, appropriate distance, employees will request the customer’s first initial and last name so that the employee can enter the information on the electronic screen or hard copy items such as return receipts, PS Forms 3811 and 3829. For increased safety, employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.
“We are proud of the work our employees play in processing, transporting and delivering mail and packages for the American public, which is a vital public service that is a part of this nation’s critical infrastructure. The postal service delivers much needed medications and social security checks, and we are the leading delivery service for online purchases. The postal service is an essential service for purposes of compliance with state or municipality shelter-in-place orders or other social distancing restrictions...
“Importantly, the CDC (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html), the World Health Organization (who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses), as well as the surgeon general have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
“Specifically, according to the World Health Organization, ‘the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.’ And according to the CDC, ‘in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.’”
“The Town of Lynn is taking this virus seriously,” Manasco continued. “Please take all precautions to keep you and your family safe...Please be kind to each other during these uncertain times, whether talking face to face or on social media.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.