Amazon piloting employee coronavirus testing program

COVID-19 testing could be rolled out to more workers

Amazon has started testing some employees for the new coronavirus and the pilot program could be rolled out for regular testing of its workers.

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Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesperson, told FOX Business that the company has made more than 150 “significant process changes” at its facilities, including distributing masks to employees, using a disinfectant spray and conducting employee temperature checks in order to “ensure the health and safety of our teams” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“A next step might be regular testing of our employees, and we’ve started our first small-scale pilot,” Carter said in a statement. “We don’t know exactly yet how it’s going to shape up, but we continue to believe it’s worth trying.”

That pilot testing program, using self-administered nasal swabs, is currently in the refining process. The company didn’t share any timeline for how soon it could be expanded to more employees.

Two people wearing masks walk near an Amazon Go store, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in downtown Seattle. Amazon.com is expected to announce earnings for the first quarter of 2020 at the close of markets Thursday, a report that is expected to be closely

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During Amazon’s last earnings call, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company would spend $4 billion on coronavirus-related expenses, including developing its own testing capabilities.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and the best investment we can make is in the safety and well-being of our hundreds of thousands of employees,” Bezos said.

Amazon is developing its own diagnostic labs to analyze test samples. In April, the company showed off photos of its first lab being assembled.

Preparations underway at Amazon's first COVID-19 test lab. (Amazon) (Hardy Wilson/Amazon)

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Any Amazon employee diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive up to two weeks of paid time off in addition to their other time off options, according to the company. And the company set up a $25 million relief fund for its delivery drivers and seasonal workers affected by the pandemic.

Amazon wouldn’t say how many of its employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date. As of March, before current protections were in place, the virus had infected employees at more than 50 warehouses and distribution facilities, according to the company and media reports.

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