Monday, March 16, 2020
If an employee is exposed to the Virus, they should self-quarantine for 14 days and will be authorized to use S/L or A/L.
If an employee is diagnosed positive for the Covid-19 Virus, they will be placed on Administrative Leave for the quarantine period. This diagnosis must be confirmed by the CDC or the State of Florida.
In cases of restricted access to delivery locations, It is the option of the Carrier if they choose to have their temperature taken.
There is no requirement to sign anything - no one should be forced to sign a document regarding the Virus. Refer those situations to the Supervisor.
Carriers are urged to report to management any delivery location that is reluctant to accept delivery.
If you develop a fever, please stay home and report any symptoms to your personal physician, your supervisor and Union.
As of now the United States Postal Service has not changed our delivery standards on obtaining signatures for special service items. However, close attention will be paid to the reports.
To abate the concerns, gloves will be made available for use on the street. Carriers are urged to take multiple pairs and discard them when washing hands.
As of today, Not one letter carrier has been linked to the virus being contracted at work.
Be cautious of your surroundings. Follow the CDC recommendations for washing your hands. Be proud of the job you are doing in light of the circumstances we face. Remember your presence on the street in neighborhoods you deliver helps ease the concerns. If the mail stops, panic will set in.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
In the Suncoast District, there are 95 total employees on the watch list. 38 are self-quarantined, with 23 under mandatory quarantine.
There are now 10 Postal Employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19. None are in Suncoast District.
With the huge shortage of supplies throughout the country, the USPS has authorized local facilities to purchase items locally that are unavailable from National Vendors.
Nothing has changed on the Delivery side for carriers.
Signatures are required for delivery. If the customer refuses to sign, the item will be held at the office for pick-up for the allotted time.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
The watch list has 172 employees, 28 on mandatory quarantine, 140 are self-quarantined.
**Change from instructions on 3/16/20:
If confronted when entering a delivery location, NO EMPLOYEE may undergo any form of examination or complete a questionnaire before delivering mail or changing the delivery method.
If confronted, explain that you have been advised you are not authorized to deliver with those requirements. Return the mail to the office, complete a PS Form 1571, Notice of Undelivered Mail Report. Verbally inform the closing Supervisor. Management has been instructed to contact the customer and explain our procedures in place to protect the customer and the employee. If they insist on a questionnaire they will be offered an alternative to their current method of delivery.
The USPS is considered by the government and "We The People" as essential services for the purpose of binding the country together. We are the largest delivery service for online purchases and currently will continue normal operations.
There is a shortage of sanitation supplies but the District has reached out to Headquarters for assistance in getting the orders filled. If you are short supplies, pleases advise Joe Henschen and he will reach out to the District for action.
Status: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
In the Suncoast District, a number of employees across all crafts are being monitored. 21 are self-quarantined - travel related. 14 require mandatory quarantine- travel related to identified high cautioned countries.
There are zero confirmed cases related only to the USPS.
The CDC limits social gatherings to 50. The White House and Florida Governor recommends limiting to 10. Florida is also holding restaurants to 50% of their occupancy.
Saturday, April 4. 2020
The watch list has 319 total employees, 40 are on mandatory quarantine, 279 are self-quarantined.
There are now 6 confirmed positive tests, adding Kissimme's Processing and Distribution Center and an Orlando facility.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act has expanded financial protection, so financial concerns vs health concerns should notexist. Please put your health and that of your fellow coworkers and customers first. Do not hide COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel ill, follow the proper procedures about notifying management and STAY HOME.
Management is asking employees to reuse the masks up to a week, but there is no information that ensures the reliability of a reused mask.
The message from President Henschen is to please be vigilant in ensuring everyone respects each other's space like our lives depend on it because they do.
Thursday, April 2, 2020
There remains some questions about facilitating the Families First Corana Response Act and the expansion of FMLA providing 12 weeks of leave. Information will be forthcoming. Tour talks should be provided soon to further explain these two provisions of Emergency Leave.
Please note the 12 weeks on this category isn't an additional 12 weeks, but rather covering the COVID-19 situation.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
The watch list has 293 total employees, 41 mandatory quarantine, 262 are self-quarantined.
Florida's Governor Desantis has issued a State wide stay at home order that's effective Friday at 12:01 AM.
This will not apply to essential service Postal Employees.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), does add 80 additional hours of Leave Entitlements for USPS as well as other Federal Agencies. Details on how the application process works will be coming soon.
President Henschen wants to remind carriers that if there is a lack of the necessary supplies to work safely, pleases notify him at the hall.
***The District has developed a "Decision Tree" to use when confronted with a COVID-19 situation.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The watch list has 256 total employees, 36 on mandatory quarantine, 219 are self-quarantined.
***The District announced we have the first confirmed positive test in Largo.
This is what is known:
The last date the employee worked was 3/21/2020. It was after this date that he came into contact with someone who was potentially infected by the
COVID-19 virus. Due to fact that the mandatory tour talks regarding the virus had taken place, the employee reported to the Largo OIC the decision to self-quarantine.
The District Occupational Nurse has confirmed the dates and potential exposure and states with confidence the risk of exposure is minimal to the facility or the employees.
The Largo facility is now being cleaned and sanitized in accordance with the CDC recommendations. The employees will be fully informed with details on Wednesday, April 1 in a tour talk conducted by HR Manager Rich Howard and Branch 1477 Executive Vice President Chris Hubble.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
The sanitizer drums will likely not get here until Monday, and then will be distributed in 1/2 or 1 gallon containers to each office. Keep all your small bottles, as they will need to be refilled. *Bottle must have embossed triangle with a 1 in it on the bottom in order to hold alcohol.
As previously discussed, the USPS is considered an essential business, so it will not be impacted by any restrictions relating to Shelter in Place that has been discussed for Florida. Please have Postal Identification available.
There will be more information released tomorrow regarding the Governor of Florida's Executive Orders.
Monday, March 30, 2020
The watch list has 213 total employees, 19 on mandatory quarantine, 182 are self-quarantined. 22 employees have returned to work.
In answer to questions about the potential health hazzards for USPS employees, the following information was provided:
The CDC and the WHO have affirmed there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus can be spread through the mail. The virus traveling through transportation in trucks encountering temperature changes would not survive.
***On Saturday night a carrier in Palm Harbor called his manager and reported that he had tested positive for the virus. The carrier had a physician's note stating he had the virus. The Occupational Health Nurse contacted the Dept. of Health, who as of 7 PM still had not seen a positive test report. The USPS Managers and MPO began cleaning the facility according to CDC guidelines. By 11 PM, the CDC still have not confirmed the test was positive. The Dept. of Health went to the hospital and retrieved the test results which turned out to be Negative. Needless to say, this false report caused a lot of anxiety for the carriers working that Sunday at the hub including those from Dunedin who share the hub location.The physician note improperly listed a positive test.
Monday, March 23, 2020
The current watch list is 137 total employees, 28 mandatory quarantined and 106 self-quarantined.
The status of supplies is being improved. The District was able to procure some 55 gal. drums of hand sanitizer. Look for that later sometime this week. Masks are arriving today but wipes are still posing difficult to find.
To be used on curbside delivery in LLVs, mailrooms, etc.
Social Media is saying the USPS is important to the infrastructure as a critical public service.
Your work during this crisis has been tremendous, and hopefully we will start seeing a more positive spin regarding your efforts.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Effective Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 4:00 AM, the District will be implementing a Suncoast Support Center hotline to answer any questions for District employees. The line will be staffed with 6 subject matter experts and will be available 24 hours a day. The phone number is: (813) 354-6072
Friday, March 27, 2020
The watch list has 188 employees, 30 on mandatory quarantine, 152 are self-quarantined.
15 have returned to work.
The support center has 1800 masks, and 2000 boxes of gloves. Sanitizer should be distributed to units by Tuesday. Continue to keep any small bottles you have in order to refill them.
St. Petersburg Distillery has provided us with nearly 1,000 2 ounce bottles of sanitizer. Some will be delivered to offices on Saturday, and the rest on Monday/Tuesday.
All carriers should have been provided a letter identifying them as essential for traveling purposes. Keep it and your ID with you in case you are stopped.
***The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is in effect from 4/1/20 - 12/31/20. As of now, the USPS and the NALC are reviewing the act with their attorneys. At present, it is not known whether this will apply to Postal Employees. We will update this as soon as we have an answer.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Information 3/16/20 - 4/4/20
By Saturday, March 21, 2020 a District Response hotline should be up and running for District employees to call for the latest updates.
The current watch list includes 77 total employees. 14 on are mandatory quarantine, 30 are on self-quarantine.
The remaining are employees who have been notified that they have been in contact with someone with a diagnosed case. These employees show no symptoms but are being watched.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Specifically: Employees may use sick leave for dependent care in the event they must care for a child as a result of daycare closures, school (Pre-K through Grades 12) closures, or the unavailability of a child's primary caregiver as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is a District Mandate to clean all facilities daily. Please notify Joe Henschen if your office is neglected.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
The Watch List currently includes 121 employees. 23 are under mandatory quarantine, 72 are on self-quarantine.
There is no scheduled update for Sunday.
This week has shown us that Change is the new Normal. Locally in our installations as changes occur in your office or street routines that is not agreed to by a National Memorandum please notify the branch office of the change.
If carriers have objections to any changes proposed or need consideration on any COVID-19 change, please notify a Branch Officer Asap.
If there are shortages with USPS supplies, i.e. gloves, hand sanitizer, or masks, please notify President Henschen. Additionally, notify him if there are deficiencies in the cleanliness of your office and restrooms.
Friday, April 3, 2020
The watch list has 305 total employees, 47 on mandatory quarantine, 279 are self-quarantined.
32 have returned to work.
Suncoast has 4 confirmed positive tests: Mid Florida, Seminole's (Tampa) Processing and Distribution Center, Winter Park and Largo. The Occupational Health Nurse has investigated each case and determined there are no employees at risk.
Exposure to the virus is defined as being within 6 feet of an individual who tested positive for a period longer that 10 minutes within a 7 day period.
Memorandum M-01916 was released providing for temporary employees to be hired. These employees are to be used to help fill positions impacted by a COVID-19 illness or event. Currently the District reports we are at 83% of the available employees at work.
Communicate with anyone you know that has lost a job or have has been furloughed
Saturday, March 28, 2020
The watch list is 190 total employees, 26 on mandatory quarantine, 146 are self-quarantined.
There has been an additional 200,000 gloves received in the Suncoast Support Center.
***The District is asking that anyone with prior medical certifications (LPN, EMT, Nurse of Paramedic, etc,) to update their Hero Profile on Liteblue under the Resume Tab. There is a need to expand the Occupational Health Nurse Office due to COVID-19. More detailed information will be available on March 30th.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The watch list is 144 total employees, 23 mandatory quarantine and 107 self-quarantined, 14 others on the list. Still zero Suncoast employees testing positive Supplies discussed on 3/23/20 estimated arrival by this weekend. There is a poster coming that illustrates how to remove gloves without further contaminating your hands.
2 new temporary Memorandums have been signed:
a. M-01913 - Temporary use of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) 432.53, City Carriers
A city letter carrier who actually works more than 7 hours but less than 8 hours of a regular scheduled day will, upon his/her request, be officially excused from the completion of the 8-hour tour and still credited with 8 hours of work time for pay purposes. Any hours not worked between the seventh and eight hour of a regular scheduled day pursuant to ELM 432.53 are included in an employee's regular rate of pay pursuant to ELM 443.212.g. (click to view Memorandum M-01913)
b. M-01914 - Liberal Changes of Schedule and Leave:
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the USPS unions temporarily expanding the use of Sick Leave for Dependent Care to allow employees to use their sick leave for unexpected childcare needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (click to view Memorandum M-01914)