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A mail carrier in Coarsegold is now in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the Madera County Department of Health said Friday.

The county’s communicable disease investigators then identified 12 people who had contact with the mail carrier. All of them were immediately isolated, Madera officials said.

The source of transmission is under investigation.

Mail Carrier Symptoms

The patient began exhibiting unrelated symptoms and remained at home. Two days later, the patient went to the hospital for unrelated symptoms and was tested for COVID-19. The hospital later confirmed COVID-19 and the patient returned to home isolation.

“The post office is closed today. It will re-open tomorrow,” said Meiko Patton, a spokesperson for USPS. “Customers can speak to the Coarsegold postmaster for any customer concerns. They can also see visit our website to see what we are doing.”

The county’s public health officer, Dr. Simon Paul, said that’s there little chance of contracting the virus by handling letters or packages.

“While we cannot say the risk of contracting COVID-19 from mail is zero, there is no evidence to date of any transmission occurring from this route,” said Paul.

Postal Service is Deemed Essential

The Postal Service is an essential service for purposes of compliance with state or municipality shelter-in-place orders or other social distancing restrictions according to their website.

To reduce health risks for Postal Service employees and customers and to safeguard our operational and business continuity, the Postal Service is doing the following:

  1. Ensuring millions of masks, gloves and cleaning and sanitizing product are available and distributed to more than 30,000 locations every day through our Postal Service supply chain. We also have opened up local purchasing authorities and sourcing options so that our employees can access additional supplies within the communities they serve. We have expanded our national sourcing of supplies and services to ensure that increasing demands are met.
  2. Reinforcing workplace behaviors to ensure that contact among our employees and with our customers reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions, social distancing, and risk minimization. We have implemented measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing, including through signage, floor tape, and “cough/sneeze” barriers. We have changed delivery procedures to eliminate the requirement that customers sign our Mobile Delivery Devices for delivery. For increased safety, employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.
  3. Updated our cleaning policies to ensure that all cleaning occurs in a manner consistent with CDC guidance relating to this pandemic.
  4. Updated our leave policies to allow liberal use of leave and to therefore give our employees the ability to stay home whenever they feel sick, must provide dependent care, or any other qualifying factor under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We have entered into agreements with our unions to provide 80 hours of paid leave to non-career employees for issues related to COVID-19, and have expanded the definition of sick leave for dependent care for covered employees to deal with the closures of primary and secondary schools across the country.
  5. Expanded the use of telework for those employees who are able to perform their jobs remotely.
  6. Issuing a daily cadence of employee talks, articles, videos, and other communications to ensure employees have the latest information and guidance.

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