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Two Amazon employees in Indiana die from coronavirus

Posted at 12:42 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 12:42:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Two Amazon employees in Indiana have died from COVID-19.

In a statement, the Seattle-based e-commerce company confirmed that one worker at a facility in Indianapolis and another in Jeffersonville died.

The statement from Amazon said the Indianapolis employee last worked April 19, and the company learned of his death on April 30. The worker did not show any symptoms at work, and the company had not been contacted that he was unwell.

"We are saddened by the loss of our associates who had worked in Indiana. Their family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting their fellow colleagues," Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said.

The Jeffersonville employee last worked April 1, and Amazon learned of his death on May 13. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on April 25, and the facility was not aware of his positive results until May 11.

A statement from Amazon said the company is spending $800 million on COVID-19 safety measures. The company is purchasing masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitizing wipes and gloves for employees to use. Hand washing stations are available and additional janitorial teams have been hired to clean facilities.

According to a report on The Verge, a technology news website, seven Amazon employees have died nationwide of COVID-19. Along with Indiana, employees who died worked at facilities in California, Illinois and New York.

Pressure has mounted on Amazon to release more information regarding the number of employees who have become sick during the pandemic at its facilities around the country.

On Monday, 13 state attorneys general wrote to Amazon and Whole Foods requesting a state-by-state breakdown of how many employees have become sick or died from COVID-19, and also for more information about how the company plans to protect its workers. Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017.

The attorneys general also requested that Amazon reinstate unpaid leave that was offered to employees through April and expand paid leave.

"Amazon and Whole Foods are occupying a unique space during this crisis, providing millions of Americans with groceries and necessary supplies," the attorneys general wrote. "We understand that both companies are seeing a significant increase in sales as well, as consumers rely even more on online shopping and buy more groceries as they stay at home. It is incumbent upon Amazon and Whole Foods as businesses and employers not to worsen the emergency by failing to take every possible step to protect their employees and their customers."

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