Amazon accused of fighting efforts to track COVID-19 in Wisconsin facilities

Officials have warned of possible shutdowns if Amazon doesn't comply.

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The logo of US online retail giant Amazon is seen at the distribution center in Staten Island as workers strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York. - Amazon employees at a New York City warehouse walk off the job March 30, 2020, as a growing number of delivery and warehouse workers demand better pay and protections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon may be improving safety measures in warehouses to protect against COVID-19, but it’s also accused of being less than forthcoming with vital data. The health officer for Kenosha County in Wisconsin, Jen Freiheit, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Gizmodo) that Amazon was uncooperative with public staff trying to track COVID-19 cases at its facilities. If it didn’t help out, Freiheit said she might push to shut down the Kenosha location.

A company spokesperson told Gizmodo that it had started testing some workers across its warehouses for COVID-19, and that this would “soon” include Kenosha. It said that “noting is more important” than the health of its, staff, and that it would “welcome a visit” from county health staff to see what it had done to improve safety, such as mandatory mask use and temperature checks.

This doesn’t address the exact figures, however, leaving it unclear just how safe employees really are. The Journal Sentinel determined that there were at least 32 cases at the Kenosha facilities, and Amazon workers have unofficially estimated 1,374 cases across the US as of this writing. Those aren’t necessarily dire numbers, but they do suggest that Amazon has faced challenges preventing infections among workers.

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