Amazon moves toward full COVID-19 screening in warehouses

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Amazon moves toward full COVID-19 screening in warehouses

By Dan Berthiaume - 06/09/2020

Amazon is reportedly preparing to test all fulfillment facility workers for COVID-19 every two weeks.

According to CNBC, the e-tail giant is scaling up COVID-19 testing at its warehouses following a number of high-profile outbreaks of the virus at different facilities across the country. The company has already begun piloting a testing program at several undisclosed facilities. Employees who test positive are referred to third-party medical provider Grand Rounds for an online consultation.

In addition to conducting onsite nasal swab tests, Amazon is also reportedly planning to open its own onsite labs that would diagnose test results at locations including Sunnyvale, Calif., and Kentucky. The company is also said to be evaluating alternative methods of COVID-19 testing, such as measuring workers’ blood oxygen levels.

As part of its Q1 2020 earnings announcement, Amazon said it would spend its entire anticipated $4 billion Q2 profit on COVID-19-related expenses, including hundreds of millions of dollars to develop its own COVID-19 testing capabilities.

In April, Amazon dedicated a team of employees – including research scientists, program managers, procurement specialists and software engineers – to move from their normal day jobs to work on building incremental testing capacity for COVID-19. At the time, Amazon said it would consider eventual regular testing of all employees, including those showing no symptoms.

Other steps Amazon has taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its organization include performing temperature checks on more than 100,000 employees per day across its entire U.S. and European operations network and Whole Foods Market stores. In addition, the company says protective face masks are available to employees in all locations.