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Regional News

Pittsfield health officials say post office isn't cooperating with COVID contact tracers

City Hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Kenneth C. Zirkel
Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Kzirkel
City Hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Health Department has issued a statement saying there is a COVID-19 cluster at the city's post office, but the postal service isn't cooperating with contact tracers. The city said the lack of collaboration "poses a risk to the community."

Kayla Donnelly is Pittsfield's public health nurse manager. She said after speaking with a patient who worked at the post office and tested positive, she called the postmaster — who refused to release information.

"It was a very defensive, standoffish response. I couldn't really get much out," Donnelly said.

In an emailed statement, the postal service said it conducts its own contact tracking and doesn't "have an obligation to share postal employee COVID-19 positive information."

The statement went on to say, "when appropriate and when in keeping with our privacy and internal policies the Postal Service does share information with local health authorities."

Donnelly said Pittsfield postal workers have told her they are not able to social distance at work.

And if they feel sick, but have not tested positive, "they are told that they have to go to work or they would face disciplinary action," Donnelly said. "And that they are not told when they have contact with a person with COVID in the workplace."

The postal service has not responded to those allegations.

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