Denver Health orders closure of U.S. Post Office center over COVID-19 concerns.
Denver health officials ordered the U.S. Post Office distribution center to shut down, citing COVID-19 concerns, but the post office remains open.
Denver Department Public Health & Environment sent a letter to the USPS facility, 7550 E 53rd Place, on Wednesday ordering it “to close all onsite operations, effective immediately.”
The city’s order said the facility “must remain closed” until multiple COVID-19 “control measures” are met and that “approval for reopening” will only be granted by a DDPHE representative.
The State of Colorado has reported multiple confirmed COVID-19 cases of employees working at the distribution center, according to the letter.
USPS officials were quick to respond and the facility remained open on Thursday.
“We strongly disagree with the Denver Public Health order, which was made without a visual verification, without advanced coordination with the team of postal employees working on these issues with Denver Public Health, and without the understanding of the Postal Service’s substantial, ongoing efforts to protect its employees and the public,” said a USPS statement.
“The Denver Processing and Distribution Center is federally owned and operated and is committed to all federal and CDC directives and safeguards in regards to COVID-19 protection,” the USPS statement said. “We have provided Denver Public Health the necessary documentation to satisfy their inquiry and are confident the order will be rescinded.”
USPS said in a news release that the center handles 10 million pieces of mail a day for more than 6 million people in Colorado and Wyoming. The release said it is the fourth-largest processing center in the nation.
DDPHE officials said that “minimal observations” were made on a Wednesday inspection because of “refusal of information and access to the facility.”
In the letter, Denver officials said that all employees must be screened at the beginning and end of every shift and that all workers must be monitored closely. The letter also states that the entire facility must be disinfected.
City health officials said the USPS must provided the city with a list of all confirmed cases, within 24 hours, and update the list every Monday until notified that it will be no longer necessary.
Failure to conform could result in citations and summons, the letter, signed by Jessica Paulin, public health investigator, said.
The city said in a separate release late Thursday night: “This was a measure of last resort, and the only remaining tool we have to get the facility management’s attention and secure public health compliance during a pandemic. DDPHE and the City Attorney are committed to resolving these concerns with federal authorities quickly.”
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