Amazon North Randall fulfillment center employee with COVID-19 dies

Mayor David Smith says he is saddened by the death, implores community to use PPE to protect themselves and loved ones
Amazon opened its fulfillment center in North Randall in September 2018.
Amazon opened its fulfillment center in North Randall in September 2018.(Brittany Bivins)
Published: May. 22, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio (WOIO) - Amazon is saddened by the loss of an associate who worked at the North Randall fulfillment center after she passed away less than three weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Spokesperson Rachael Lighty.

According to Lighty, the late associate last worked for Amazon on April 30, the same day she was confirmed to have COVID-19.

Lighty said Amazon was not alerted of her positive case until May 8.

Amazon alerts all individuals who work at a site where there is a positive case, not just those who have come in close contact with the diagnosed individual, according to Lighty.

However, Amazon does tell any associate who has come in close contact with that diagnosed individual to self-quarantine for 14 days and pay that self-quarantined associate for their time at home, according to Lighty.

Lighty said Amazon is in the process of updating all North Randall fulfillment center employees of their colleague’s passing and is offering support to team members during this time.

The Mayor of the Village of North Randall, David Smith, expressed his condolences in a statement Friday, May 22.

Smith said Amazon shared the the results from the inspection conducted on April 2, and it appeared Amazon put in all the necessary measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Amazon immediately reached out to their late employee’s family to extend their support as soon as they learned of her passing on May 18, according to Lighty.

According to the city Amazon has made it mandatory for every employee to wear face coverings and has hired an outside professional sanitation company to disinfect all common surfaces.

Lighty said “Her family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting her fellow colleagues,” as she gave 19 News the following statement on behalf of Amazon:

“Like most global companies, we’ve had employees affected by this, and we’re doing all that we can to protect our employees and take the proper precautions as stated in WHO guidelines. We’re continuing to monitor the situation in our facilities, and we are taking proactive measures to protect employees and associates who have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed or becomes ill. Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and we expect to invest approximately $4 billion from April to June on COVID-related initiatives to get products to customers and keep employees safe. This includes spending more than $800 million in the first half of the year on COVID-19 safety measures, with investments in personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of our facilities, less efficient process paths that better allow for effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams, and developing our own COVID-19 testing capabilities.”

According to Lighty, Amazon has implemented the following safeguards during the pandemic:

  • Implement over 150 process updates, including sanitization efforts
  • Immediately investigate incidents where employees aren’t social distancing
  • Distributed face masks on April 15 and required them to be worn since
  • Implement disinfectant spraying across operations
  • Conduct temperature checks on all employees
  • Give an employee diagnosed with COVID-19 up to two weeks paid time off in addition to other paid and unpaid time off options
  • Increased pay for hourly employees by $2 per hour
  • Doubled the regular hourly base pay for each overtime hour worked

The rate of infection at the North Randall fulfillment center is significantly below the rate of the rest of the community it’s in, according to Lighty.

Lighty also said Amazon has filled 100,000 new jobs since March and are hiring 75,000 more to meet customer demand and help existing employees with their duties.

Amazon employees get comprehensive health benefits their first day on the job, according to Lighty.

The mayor called on everyone to protect loved ones by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.

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