An Amazon worker at the company’s JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island has died from COVID-19. Managers at the facility first informed employees of the death on Monday, according to The Verge. Amazon publicly confirmed the death on Tuesday. The worker was last at the Amazon facility on April 5 and was living under quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus on April 11. It's believed that the worker had no additional contact with other Amazon staffers after taking leave from the facility. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, NY,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues.”
The associate at JFK8 is not the first Amazon employee to lose their life because of COVID-19. An operations manager at Amazon's facility in Hawthorne, California died on March 31. Another employee at an Amazon facility in Tracy, California passed away on April 1. Amazon has not made public any statistics on how many of its facilities have experienced COVID-19 cases or how many workers in total have tested positive for the virus. The Verge reported that Amazon workers believe about 130 facilities have had at least one positive test. In the case of JFK8, it is believed that at least 29 workers have fallen ill from coronavirus.
Despite the deaths and reported positive tests at facilities across the country, Amazon has closed just one of its facilities in the United States. On March 26, the company shut down a returns processing center located in Kentucky. Three workers at the facility tested positive for COVID-19 at the time that operations were halted. Amazon closed the facility at the order of the governor. The company's warehouses across France have been shut down since April 16 at the order of French courts, which ruled that the company should limit deliveries to essential goods only during the coronavirus pandemic or face fines.
Operations at most Amazon facilities continue, despite the protests of workers. Hundreds of Amazon warehouse associates and other employees have partaken in protests calling on Amazon to strengthen protections for their fellow employees who might be affected by COVID-19. The JFK8 facility that recently suffered the loss of one of its workers was one of the first to call on Amazon to provide greater safety precautions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Employees have asked for expanded paid sick leave so they can feel comfortable taking time off when they show symptoms of coronavirus, allowing them to stay home without worrying about losing out on wages or risking infecting others at the facility. Earlier this week, a vice president of Amazon Web Services left the company with a scathing resignation letter for its decision to fire workers who organized protests. Last month, NPR obtained a letter from the New York attorney general's office that claimed Amazon has provided "inadequate" protections to warehouse workers in the state and may have violated federal safety standards.