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Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19

Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19
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More than 19,000 Amazon workers contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic, the company revealed in an update on testing released Thursday.

It is the first time Amazon has publicly shared case numbers among its more than 1.3 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees across the U.S.

The company said in a press release that the 19,816 positive tests means the rate of infection among employees was 42 percent lower than expected, compared to the “general population rate” in the U.S.

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Amazon also offered updates on its testing capacity, sharing a goal of 50,000 tests per day across 650 facilities by November.

The release of the data comes a day after an NBC News report detailed a lack of transparency in Amazon's coronavirus response and after employees criticized the company's handling of the virus.

Warehouse workers have gone on strike at multiple facilities to protest implementation of safety measures. The company has fired several of those employees, as well as ones on the technology side of the operation who have spoken up.

Demand for Amazon's services have skyrocketed during the pandemic, which has kept many Americans home, leading the company to hire well over 100,000 additional workers.

Amazon pledged to provide workers with protective equipment, increase cleaning and enforce social distancing measures at warehouses in response to the health crisis.

However, workers have disputed the company's follow-through on those processes, and the testing figures released Thursday are expected to put additional scrutiny on the company's safety measures.

Amazon did not reveal the number of deaths among its employees from COVID-19. There have been at least 10 publicly reported.