Denver health officials have ordered the U.S. Post Office distribution center to close, citing concerns with COVID-19, but the post office remains open.
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment sent a letter to the USPS facility, 7550 E 53rd Place, on Wednesday ordering “to close all operations on the site, effective immediately.
The city law said the facility “must remain closed” until several COVID-19 “control measures” have been found and “approval for opening” will be given only by a DDPHE representative.
The State of Colorado has reported several confirmed COVID-19 cases of employees working in the distribution center, according to the letter.
USPS officials responded quickly and the facility remained open on Thursday.
“We disagree with the Denver Public Health order, which was made without a visual verification, without advanced coordination with the team of postal employees working on these issues at Denver Public Health, and without understanding of the great Postal Service, its continuing efforts to protect its employees and the public, “a USPS statement said.
The Denver Distribution Center remains open as we process 10 million pieces of mail a day for every person in CO and WY including drugs, stimulus checks, and election materials. We met all CDCs and federal guidelines for COVID-19. USPS is an Essential Service.
– USPS Colorado (@USPS_Colorado) May 21, 2020
“The Denver Processing and Distribution Center is federally owned and operated and is committed to all federal and CDC directives and safeguards regarding COVID-19 protection,” the USPS statement said. “We have provided Denver Public Health with the necessary documentation to satisfy their inquiry and trust that the order will be saved.”
USPS said in a news release that the center handles 10 million pieces of mail a day for more than 6 million people in Colorado and Wyoming. The release said it is the fourth largest processing center in the country.
DDPHE officials said “minimal observations” were made during an inspection on Wednesday due to “declining information and access to the facility.”
In the letter, Denver officials said all employees should be screened at the beginning and end of each shift and that all workers should be monitored closely. The letter also states that the entire facility should be disinfected.
City health officials said the USPS should provide the city with a list of all confirmed cases, within 24 hours, and update the list every Monday until it is no longer needed.
Failure to comply could result in citations and calls, the letter, signed by Jessica Paulin, public health investigator.
The city said in a separate release late Thursday night: “This is a measure of last resort, and the only remaining tool we need to capture the attention of facility management and ensure public health compliance during a pandemic . The DDPHE and the City Attorney are committed to resolving these concerns with the federal authorities. “