Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Get Deliveries?

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With more than 50% of the U.S. population living under stay-at-home restrictions, companies that deliver food and household goods are inundated with orders. As they scramble to meet the demand, you may wonder if ordering in puts you or the people making your deliveries at risk.

The Question of Worker Safety

For some workers at least, the answer seems to be yes. The enormous flow of commerce may overwhelm companies’ abilities to protect their employees’ and subcontractors’ personal safety.

Reuters reported that delivery drivers for several companies say their jam-packed routes don’t allow them to follow recommended safety procedures, like stopping to wash their hands.

One driver for Uber and Postmates who showed symptoms of COVID-19 said he couldn’t qualify for paid sick leave without a confirmed diagnosis, but due to the testing shortage getting one proved impossible. He continued to work, Reuters reported.

Some workers for Amazon subcontractors told Reuters that vans and bins aren’t always sanitized between shifts, and they aren’t provided with personal protective gear -- sometimes, they don’t even have hand sanitizer. Amazon requires these things, but in practice individual companies may not be meeting their obligations.

Problems exist at the warehouse level, too. At least nine Amazon facilities have had employees test positive. “We are supporting the individuals, following guidelines from local officials, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of all the employees at our sites,” Amazon said in a written statement. The company has also announced enhanced protective measures to encourage social distancing and hygiene while at work.

Are Packages Safe?

Pair all these issues with a study last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that found the virus was viable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and even longer on plastic and stainless steel, and you may be tempted to cancel all your orders. Not so fast, says Joseph Vinetz, MD, a professor of infectious diseases at Yale University.

“Nobody’s gotten this infection anywhere in the world from packages,” he says. “You can detect the virus on cardboard with a molecular test, but that doesn’t mean it can infect you.”

The CDC also says you’re unlikely to contract COVID-19 from surfaces. And the World Health Organization says, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

If you’re still nervous, though, do what Vinetz does. “I love Amazon, I go to restaurants and get takeout, I go to the grocery store. I wash my hands, I spritz the outside of my reusable bag with alcohol or wipe it with a wipe, and that’s perfectly fine,” he says. “It’s much more important to stay away from people, keep 6 feet of social distancing. Stay at home.”

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    I have been lucky enough to be one of Dr. Kibler's first patients and have stayed with him ever since!  He is extremely talented - he is a true artist - not only with his gentle, caring dentistry - but when you visit his office, notice the beautiful paintings of various golf course holes - all painted by Dr. Kibler - they make you think you're there on the course!  He brings that same talent to caring for each of his patients.  He treats you as if you are the only person in his office and always takes the time to ask how you are and answer any questions you have.  Recently, he needed to refer me to a specialist and after trusting only Dr. Kibler all of these years, I was concerned, so I asked him if he could recommend someone he trusted as much as I trust him and, as usual, he didn't let me down.  Dr. Kibler is a wonderful person and friend who cares about his patients and their needs and I am honored to be one of his first patients!  Dr. Kibler always has the neatest folks for his staff, too!  They are all wonderful, caring people who, like Dr. Kibler, will make you feel right at home and comfortable from the minute you walk into their office (and they are animal lovers - and we all know how special folks like that are!)  Come visit Dr. Kibler and his staff  and you will see why he has been my dentisit for over 20 years!

    S.D.

    Yes, you are in need of a dentist.  Allow me to help with your decision, as I know a terrific one, Dr. J. Christopher Kibler!!! First though, let me tell you how I found him and most importantly why I have stayed his patient for 19 years. My prior dentist was retiring and sold his practice to Dr. Kibler.  My immediate reaction was probably what your're experiencing now, dread of picking the wrong "new" dentist. Courageously, I ventured into my first appointment with him.  After all, I had to start somewhere. Safe, was my first reaction to meeting Dr. Kibler,  His whole demeanor put me at ease.  And, more than ease, I felt secure.  He has a humor that was disarming.  Looking back on it now, as I write this little piece, it wasn't that he told jokes, he had a wit about him that is clearly based on wisdom, and his joy in life. However, the most important reason that I have stayed his patient, is his skill level.  He and his staff upgrade their education frequently.  I witness the improvements each time I need his help.  There is either a new piece of state of the art equipment or a newer technique that he's mastered.  He is not only a gifted artist giving great attention to detail, he has never hurt me. In fact, when I needed to see an oral surgeon for a skin grafting procedure, I went to Dr. Kibler for my first numbing injection.  He has an absolutely pain free method of giving injections.  I repeat, he has NEVER hurt me. In closing, let me add that I have a high standard for my appearance, and having a beautiful healthy mouth is very important to me.  I have always worked in the beauty and fashion industry, so of course the veeers that Dr. Kibler created for me were beyond pretty, they are believably natural. Last, let me say that although there are many good dentists around my dentist is terrific.

    Terry S.

    For nearly TWO decades Dr. Kibler and his awesome staff have taken care of my, as well as my wife's teeth.  Cleanings, repair, filling replacements, bridges, etc..  This  man has done it, done it right and done it well.  We run a small business of 35 people,  many of them and some of our family also use Dr. K and crew.  Put it simply, they get it and they will treat you with care and compassion.  Nothing to lose, everything to gain.  #Dr.Kibler

    Greg C.