Amazon to test warehouse workers for COVID-19 every two weeks

Amazon is gearing up to have warehouse workers take a self-test for the coronavirus using a nasal swab and a video.

Donna Fuscaldo
The Motley Fool

Amazon is preparing for life in a post-COVID-19 world, gearing up to test warehouse workers for the coronavirus every two weeks. 

CNBC, citing people familiar with the tech stock's plans, reported workers at Amazon's fulfillment centers around the country would have to conduct a self-test using a nasal swap every two weeks. They would be guided through the test via a video with a medical professional nearby to supervise. 

The move is designed to prevent any more outbreaks at its fulfillment centers as stay-at-home orders are lifted across the country. During the peak of the pandemic in the U.S. employees in several of Amazon's warehouses tested positive for the virus. The e-commerce giant is earmarking the $4 billion in operating profit it would normally earn in the second quarter to respond to the pandemic.  

Shelves in a warehouse filled with boxes and two surgical masks hanging from them.

Amazon is also creating diagnostic labs in many of its locations to analyze test samples to ascertain if an employee is negative or positive. The first two testing sites will be located in Sunnyvale, California and Kentucky, reported CNBC. Employees who test positive will be referred to GrandRounds, a telemedicine start-up that will provide virtual consultations.

In order for Amazon to test all its warehouse workers every two weeks, it will need millions of tests. To meet that end, Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos laid out plans to create its own COVID-19 diagnostic test in the company's annual letter to shareholders released in April. At the time Bezos said research scientists, procurement specialists, and software engineers have refocused their roles to create a test for the virus. Amazon had already begun assembling the equipment needed to build its first lab in April. 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Donna Fuscaldo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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