COVID-19 death reported in outbreak at Denver postal facility, officials say; USPS denies claims

Posted at 8:13 PM, May 22, 2020

DENVER — A person who tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at a Denver postal distribution facility has died, health officials said Friday.

Five cases total have been identified as the U.S. Postal Service facility in Northeast Denver, and one was fatal, according to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). More information about when the person died and when they contracted the virus was not immediately available.

The facility handles mail for all of Colorado and Wyoming and was ordered to close Thursday by the City of Denver due to an outbreak of coronavirus.

The facility had not shut down as of Friday afternoon, though city officials, in a statement, said they met with Postal Service representatives and "both parties expressed a commitment to working together on the outbreak and complaint investigations for COVID-19 as well as broader issues when they arise."

"The city will continue to work with USPS to obtain information about additional cases, whether transmission appears to be ongoing, and to ensure controls are implemented," a statement from the city's Joint Information Center said.

The order to close came a day after the DDPHE visited the distribution facility in which “minimal observations” were made by city health investigators, who alleged the distribution center did not grant them full access and refused to provide vital information during their visit to the site.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO, on Friday had sent a letter to the Postmaster General Megan Brennan, asking her to address concerns over the facility and to shut it down.

“Our USPS is only as strong as the health of dedicated employees allows,” DeGette wrote. “I ask you to work closely with the DDPHE to help resolve this matter in a responsible, public health focused way. Furthermore, I request you provide clarity on how your national and regional offices are working with our nation’s public health departments to ensure that the safety of each employee remains the Postal Service’s top priority.”

This article was written by Russell Haythorn andRyan Osborne for KMGH.