employee who worked at a warehouse in New York has died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, the internet retailer said Tuesday. The employee last worked at the Staten Island facility on April 5 and was placed in quarantine on April 11.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, New York," Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish said, confirming an earlier report by The Verge. "His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues."
Amazon said it's been in touch with the employee's family and is offering counseling and support to workers. The company said the employee, who wasn't identified, isn't believed to have had contact with other workers.
A number of Amazon warehouse workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least five have died, according to news reports. Workers at Amazon warehouses in Hawthorne and Tracy, California, have died from COVID-19. Two employees of supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, which Amazon owns, have also died, one in Massachusetts and another in Portland, Oregon.
Amazon has come under intense criticism for its treatment of warehouse workers during the coronavirus pandemic, with workers organizing a handful of demonstrations around the country to call for safer working conditions. Many of these workers fear that their warehouses are potential breeding grounds for the virus and that they could ultimately spread it to their families and Amazon customers.
Last month, Amazon said it provided more than 100 million masks to its global operations network and Whole Foods stores, giving them to all Amazon associates, delivery service partners, seasonal employees and others throughout the company. The e-commerce giant said it's requiring everyone working in its facilities to use a mask. The masks are part of a series of measures Amazon has taken in the name of protecting workers, including temperature checks.