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USPS confirms positive COVID-19 cases at Bryan location

Local experts say COVID-19 spreading through mail is unlikely
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:35 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -The United States Postal Services (USPS) has confirmed several employees at the Bryan location have tested positive for COVID-19.

Prior to this confirmation, Bryan residents like Peggy Sue Hyman reached out to KBTX with concerns about her mail services.

“A lot of us go days without getting mail and then we get a big batch of it so we’re like okay there got to be something going on,” said Hyman.

More recently Hyman received a piece of mail that she believes had BBQ sauce on the front and back.

“Because of the pandemic it really irritates me because one, I don’t want your food on my mail but two how do I know this didn’t come out of your mouth and not out of your sandwich, so therefore, the spread of COVID,” said Hyman.

Hyman says her biggest concern is whether or not COVID-19 can spread through her mailbox.

Texas A&M Deputy Director of Pandemic and Biosecurity program, Christine Blackburn says recent studies show we shouldn’t fear the mail.

“The virus is only able to survive on let’s say cardboard for 24 hours and even then the amount of virus the cardboard has is not really viable virus,” said Blackburn. “The virus survives on metal surfaces at rates that can actually infect you by touching them so that’s a bigger concern than handling something like the mail.”

Blackburn says washing your hands is always a great way to prevent any type of spread.

Hyman says she’d rather be safe than sorry.

“Yes I do wipe things down, I do take those types of precautions. I’m trying to protect my parents and others,” said Hyman.

Officials with the USPS say they are taking guidance from the Brazos County Health District and feel that other employee’s risks are minimal at this time.

USPS Response:

The U.S. Postal Service has learned that there are employees at the Bryan Post Office who tested positive for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

We are in the process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide. We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Bryan Post Office, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available.

As you may know, under the Rehabilitation Act and the Privacy Act, specific employee medical information must be kept confidential and may only be shared in very limited circumstances. Therefore, the Postal Service cannot share the names of any employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or further specifics of their medical condition. The safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority.

For our latest statements regarding COVID-19 visit https://about.usps.com/newsroom/covid-19/.

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