SHAKOPEE, Minn. — The Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee has one of the larger coronavirus outbreaks in a warehouse or distribution plant setting, according to state health officials.
At least 88 of its approximately 1,000 workers have tested positive for the disease caused by the virus. Another 99 workers at other Amazon sites in the Twin Cities have also tested positive since COVID-19 arrived in Minnesota.
Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for the Minnesota Health Department, said state officials are reaching out to employers when clusters at workplaces begin to emerge, the Star Tribune reported.
“Anytime we have a situation in which a worksite is a critical workforce and they’re in a position where they don’t have the luxury of working from home, or working in a cubicle ... you tend to see a greater likelihood of transmission,” Ehresmann said.
Ehresmann said they are providing guidance to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Amazon spokesperson Jen Crowcroft responded on Tuesday saying, "We utilize a variety of data to closely monitor the safety of our buildings and there is strong evidence that our employees are not proliferating the virus at work—what we see generally is that the overall rate of infection and increase or decrease of total cases is highly correlated to the overall community rate of infection. Over the months of COVID-19, thousands of employees and partners have worked at our Shakopee site and we believe strongly people are not spreading the virus at work given the robust safety measures we’ve put into place."
Crowcroft went on to state that all inspections at 91 of their local facilities since March have passed, and that Amazon has been praised for "going beyond current compliance requirements."
You can find more information on the steps Amazon says it is taking to combat COVID-19 in their facilities, here.