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More Than 39,000 Federal Employees Have Tested Positive For COVID-19 - Nearly 1% Of All Federal Personnel Have Contracted The Virus, With Cases Spiking In Recent Weeks At Many Agencies

Published Monday, July 20, 2020
by Eric Katz/GovExec.com
More Than 39,000 Federal Employees Have Tested Positive For COVID-19 - Nearly 1% Of All Federal Personnel Have Contracted The Virus, With Cases Spiking In Recent Weeks At Many Agencies

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Across Federal Agencies and the U.S. Military, nearly 1% of all Federal Personnel have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Nearly 19,000 Civilian Employees have contracted COVID-19, in addition to more than 20,000 Military Members.

This comes as thousands of Federal Workers who had been tele-working from the outset of the pandemic are heading back to their offices, while many more have continued reporting to their normal duty stations without interruption

Federal Workers over the last several months have complained of insufficient protective supplies, equipment and distancing policies, and continue to raise concerns that agencies are not taking proper precautions before recalling Staff to offices. 

Some agencies have published data on the locations of their Employee infections, which show a rising number of cases in states with major outbreaks such as Florida, Arizona and Texas. 

However, several agencies continue to decline to provide figures on the number of Employees who have tested positive.

Here’s a look at some of the agencies in which the most Federal Workers have contracted COVID-19:

The Defense Department: At Defense, 4,265 Civilians have tested positive for the virus.  That marks a dramatic increase of 67% since the end of June.  The Pentagon entered "Phase Two" of its reopening plan at the end of June, enabling up to 80% of Employees who typically report there to return to their offices.  The 20,212 Military Personnel who have contracted the virus marks a 72% spike this month.  Nearly 1,900 Defense contractors have also tested positive. 

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS): Nearly 5,400 USPS Employees have tested positive for COVID-19 among its workforce of 630,000.  After initially struggling to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to its Employees, the Postal Service has said it has redoubled its efforts and all essential products and supplies are now available

The Veterans Affairs Department: The VA has also seen cases spike in recent weeks, climbing to 3,128 Employees.  More than a quarter of VA Employee cases come from Arizona, California, Florida or Texas, which are all seeing severe outbreaks in general.  About one-third of the cases VA Facilities in Texas have experienced are currently active.  VA Employees have expressed significant concern about the lack of PPE, policies that threaten discipline or loss of pay if they do not come in after exposure and poor communication from management.  Forty-one VA Employees have died from symptoms related to the virus.

Customs and Border Protection: CBP is leading the Homeland Security Department with its case count of 1,426.  Cases have dramatically increased at CBP in recent weeks as cases in general have skyrocketed in Southern Border States.  Positive tests in Texas alone have more than doubled and infected Employees in Texas, Arizona and California make up nearly 70% of the agency’s cases.  At Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at least 45 Employees have tested positive. 

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report, Go To: www.govexec.com/workforce/2020/07/more-37000-federal-employees-have-tested-positive-covid-19/167014/

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