Washington postal workers push for vaccine after outbreak in Kent facility

Feb 9, 2021, 4:05 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2021, 7:02 am

Washington state’s postal workers are pushing to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine alongside other frontline essential workers, following a recent breakout of the virus at a mail processing facility in Kent.

King County Council chair calls for more transparency for vaccines

The Kent facility had 34 of its 160 workers test positive for COVID-19 over the last two weeks, with “an additional number off work in quarantine status,” according to a notice from the local union. Across the entire Seattle postal district, 242 total USPS workers have tested positive for the virus over that same period.

That has local union representative David Yao calling on the Washington State Department of Health to move postal workers up into a higher tier for vaccinations.

“A lot of postal workers are older but they haven’t gotten vaccinations, and for some reason, postal workers are not classified with grocery workers and transit workers as frontline essential workers,” Yao told KIRO Radio.

He cites the fact that postal workers are operating as a “lifeline to get goods to people who don’t want to leave their houses because of COVID” as the driving reason behind this push. He also points out that other facilities across the United States have seen similar outbreaks.

“Across the nation, there have been severe backups because some postal facilities have had to shut down because there are so many infections,” Yao said.

According to the union, “tens of thousands” of USPS workers across the nation have either been infected, quarantined, or exposed to COVID-19 since the start of pandemic, 150 of whom have died.

Vaccine appointment process a headache for Washingtonians

Washington state is currently in Phase 1B, tier 1, of vaccine distribution, which includes all people over the age of 65, and those over 50 in multi-generational households. The state’s postal workers are hoping to be vaccinated in the latter tiers of Phase 1B, which already includes high-risk critical workers in agriculture, food processing, grocery stores, schools, corrections, public transit, fire, and law enforcement.

“While we appreciate the gratitude we have received from the public, we urge Governor Jay Inslee to honor our heroic postal workers who have worked in such hazardous conditions with no hazard pay from the federal government,” USPS worker Virgilio Goze said in a written release.

Local News

Nicole Jennings

WA seeing major rise in antisemitism amidst hateful celebrity rhetoric

Acts of antisemitism are on the rise in Washington, with this year set to reach an all-time high in number of acts of hate against the Jewish community.
12 hours ago
Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...
Micki Gamez

Seattle’s most downloaded songs and artists may surprise you

Newly released Spotify data says Taylor Swift is Seattle's most downloaded and listened to artist of the year 2022.
2 days ago
Stevens Pass skiing...
Heather Bosch

Stevens Pass vows to do better during this ski and snowboard season

The Stevens Pass Ski resort is open and it's under pressure to show skiers and snowboarders it has changed for the better.
2 days ago
Sunken ship Pacific...
Feliks Banel

Sunken ship lost 150 years ago, found off WA coast

The wreck of a sunken ship off the coast of Washington nearly 150 years ago has been found by a pair of maritime historians.
2 days ago
Puget Sound snow...
Bill Kaczaraba

Some snow into the Puget Sound region overnight

Friday snow is always a little bit different than Monday through Thursday snow. Friday snow is generally part of the holiday wonder.
2 days ago
human caused...
L.B. Gilbert

Small Business Administration offers disaster relief after Bolt Creek Fire

The SBA announced Thursday that they would be offering disaster relief loans to businesses impacted by the Bolt Creek Fire.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Washington postal workers push for vaccine after outbreak in Kent facility