Mail carriers, delivery services take extra precautions due to COVID-19

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- It is a frequent question to Action 2 News from viewers: What do I need to know about COVID-19 and the mail?

It is a part of daily life that remains largely the same even in these unprecedented times. People continue to receive letters and packages delivered right to their door.

A statement issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS) earlier this week references "the strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments" being passed on to employees. Those measures include frequent hand washing, use of sanitizers, and additional cleaning of work spaces.

USPS also encourages employees who feel sick to stay home offering them "liberal leave."

A picture on the United Parcel Service (UPS) website shows workers also washing their hands. A spokesperson for that company tells Action 2 News "vehicles and equipment are cleaned and disinfected daily with an emphasis on interiors, and frequent exterior touch points."

UPS is in the process of distributing an additional 250,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and will "have all of those available within days" for its workers.

A total of 17,000 masks have already been given out to drivers who deliver to healthcare and assisted living facilities with another 17,000 on the way. Those drivers also have access to gloves.

In a statement, FedEx says it is "promoting recommended preventative actions related to hygiene, including frequent handwashing" for employees.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low. The CDC agrees pointing to "poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces" instead being spread most often by respiratory droplets.

Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea Health, still recommends that people take extra precautions.

"Act like everything we touch has it on it, so once you're done touching it, before you touch your face or anything else on your body, wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer," said Rai. "If you can get in that habit every time whether it be the mail, your takeout food, the grocery bags you bring inside your home, act like everything has it on it. It will apply to mail. It will apply to everything else. That's a good practice."

The Surgeon General states there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.