Bonn · The group has discovered that many employees have Covid-19 and did not even notice it. Now precautionary action is being taken. Deutsche Post now wants to test more than 10,000 employees for Corona.
Deutsche Post will have many thousands of employees tested on Covid-19 without any specific reason. This is the opinion of Tobias Meyer, the board member responsible for the local parcel and mail business. "We are moving towards a prophylactic test strategy. We will offer significantly more than 10,000 employees the opportunity to be tested for Covid-19 as a precautionary measure, primarily at larger facilities. Our company physicians will probably offer appropriate tests in some of the 36 parcel centres and possibly also in letter sorting centres.“
The Post has done many tests. Around 4,000 staff members were tested after Covid-19 infections occurred in their immediate environment, a mandatory standard procedure, resulting in a "hit rate" roughly equivalent to the other tests in Germany, as published regularly. The Robert Koch Institute, for example, reported on Wednesday that 3.6 million tests had been carried out in Germany, with 205,000 positive results, corresponding to a hit rate of 5.7 percent.
More infected people than previously expected
However, Deutsche Post also had around 1000 employees in two parcel centres carry out purely precautionary tests, although there had been very few cases. Of these 1000 people tested, more than 20 had a positive result. Meyer: "The striking thing was that we found an unexpectedly high number of infected people in the broad tests without any compelling reason, but who have not yet shown any symptoms of the disease," says Meyer. From this he concludes: "We must assume that we have more infected people in the vicinity of our facilities than previously suspected. We will now have them systematically tested at selected sites according to a risk classification.“ The three main criteria are whether there are infections in the company, whether the district reports many infections and whether many employees have an increased risk due to their living conditions. These are employees who come in carpools, or people who live in relatively cramped conditions. „We also assume that younger employees are more likely to be infected on average than older employees because they are less likely to withdraw from social life.
Meyer rejects the assumption that the employees were primarily infected at work. "We have not found any systematic occupational causes for the infections. After all, we have very clear rules on how employees should protect themselves against infection." It is self-understood that infected people go into quarantine. "In this way, we can protect the workforce better." The board admits that there is a higher risk of infection in the operational areas than in the home office. "In the parcel centers and letter distribution centers, work went on continuously. Precautionary measures were accordingly important there." Meyer says that the tests are supported by the works councils. The company will pay the expenses which he calculates to be at least 130 Euro per test – with 10,000 tests this would be 1.3 million Euro plus medical costs.
Original text: Reinhard Kowalewsky
Translation: Mareike Graepel