Amazon has reported its first coronavirus case in one of their warehouses, raising questions about the possible impact on supply lines.
The Atlantic is reporting that an Amazon warehouse worker in Queens, New York has tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the company to email all the other workers to inform them.
“We’re writing to let you know that a positive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) was found at our facility today,” the email read.
In the short-term, Amazon has closed the facility and is taking extra time to deep-clean it, while all employees were sent home with full pay. In the long-term, the revelation leaves a lot of questions about the supply chain at a time when companies’ capabilities are already being pushed to the limit. Amazon recently announced it would suspend shipments of all non-essential items in an effort to keep up with demand.
Studies have shown that the coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard, and as long as 72 hours on plastic or steel. If more warehouse workers test positive for the virus, it could raise concerns about transmission through the very supplies people are relying on to stay safely at home. As Amazon and other fulfillment centers have to close facilities to disinfect following confirmed cases, it could have a profound impact on the entire supply chain, causing delays that no one can afford.