Coronavirus

Postal Service Pressed by Staffing Shortages Will Deliver COVID-19 Tests

"We know this is our job and we persevere, we get it done," said Scott Hoffman, the president of the Metro Area Local which represents some 2,000 postal workers

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Not even the pandemic kept them from their appointed rounds, but a postal system dealing with the continued impact caused by the omicron variant is about to face a new stress -- tens of millions of at-home COVID tests. 

"We know this is our job and we persevere, we get it done," Scott Hoffman, the president of the Metro Area Local which represents some 2,000 postal workers, said Wednesday. 

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Hoffman says like many industries, USPS is dealing with increased sick calls caused by this latest variant. Hoffman says last year it was common to have two to three sick calls a day. Now, that number hovers around 90.

"Those who can get to work are coming to work they are working long hours they are getting tired a little bit, they are looking for some type of light at the end of the tunnel," Hoffman said.

To prepare for the surge in work related to the tests, Hoffman says the postal service is hiring temporary workers and has secured a warehouse outside of Boston to process the tests.

In Lawrence, hard hit by omicron, there is hope these preparations minimize any delays.

"Definitely that is a concern we have in the city of Lawrence," Lawrence City Councilor Jovanny Rodriguez said. "A delay of the post office will definitely worry a lot of people including me as a councilor, definitely a concern to us."

With experience delivering in all sorts of conditions, Hoffman says the postal service will be ready.

"We know that we are frontline workers and that is our job," Hoffman said. "We are hoping this work goes to the light at the end of the tunnel."

The website for free COVID tests is live, but people have questions.
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