Calgary

Amazon warehouse near Calgary reports employee with COVID-19

The Seattle-based online retailer said it has increased cleaning, staggered and extended break periods and added video-based interviews, masks and wage replacement for related time off.

Seattle-based online retailer says it's taking 'extreme measures' to keep workers safe

An employee at the Amazon warehouse north of Calgary has tested positive for COVID-19. This is a file photo of another Amazon facility. (Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)

An employee at the Amazon warehouse north of Calgary has tested positive for COVID-19 and the company says it's taking "extreme measures" to protect other employees.

The 600,000 square-foot warehouse in the community of Balzac, Alta., is just north of the Calgary city limits.

"We are supporting the individual who is recovering," spokesperson Timothy Carter told CBC News in an emailed statement Monday.

"We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site."

The Seattle-based online retailer said those measures include increased cleaning, staggered and extended break periods, video-based interviews, mask availability and wage replacement for related time off.

Criticism in U.S.

But that was not the experience of an employee at a Staten Island Amazon facility in New York City.

Chris Smalls says he was fired after staging a walkout to highlight the health and safety of all workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon says it fired Smalls for repeatedly violating orders to quarantine himself after he had contact with an infected employee.

Smalls denies he broke any Amazon health policies, and says he's being punished for speaking out.

Low risk from packages, officials say

Packages and letters shipped in Canada could be contaminated with the virus, but health officials warn the risk of contracting COVID-19 from mail is low.

"Because parcels generally take days or weeks to be delivered, and are shipped at room temperature, the risk of spread is low," Health Canada says on its website. "There is no known risk of coronaviruses entering Canada on parcels or packages."

Officials recommend people practice good hygiene and physical distancing in order to avoid contracting COVID-19.

WATCH | Are packages and mail safe?

Andrew Chang explains whether there’s a risk of catching COVID-19 by handling mail or packages. 0:56

WIth files from Sarah Rieger, As It Happens, Rachel Ward

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