ITHACA, N.Y. — Three workers at the post office on Warren Road in Ithaca have tested positive for coronavirus, the United States Postal Service confirmed on Wednesday. There have been no cases detected at the downtown Ithaca post office location. The USPS did not say if the Warren Road location would close for any period of time.

Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, USPS’ Strategic Communications Coordinator for Western New York and Central Pennsylvania Districts, confirmed that the three positive cases had been discovered as of Wednesday morning. The Tompkins County Health Department said that they would not be issuing a press release in relation to the positive tests, indicating that they do not believe there is a likelihood of exposure to the general public.

“Right now, no positive cases in Tompkins County have presented any public exposures,” said Tompkins County Communications Director Dominick Recckio.

Abdul-Razzaaq would not specify what positions the employees who tested positive hold at the office, citing medical privacy laws.

“The safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority,” Abdul-Razzaaq told the Voice. “To ensure the health of our employees, we are continuing to follow recommended guidance and strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under the Rehabilitation Act and the Privacy Act, specific employee medical information must be kept confidential and may only be shared in very limited circumstances. Therefore, the Postal Service cannot share the name of the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or further specifics of his or her medical condition.”

While following CDC guidelines, Abdul-Razzaaq acknowledged that there is still confusion over COVID-19 in general but that available information shows that paper mail or packages are not thought to be a risky vector of infection.

“CDC states there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how the virus spreads,” Abdul-Razzaaq added. “Coronaviruses are thought to be spread primarily through airborne respiratory droplets resulting from a sneeze, cough or ordinary speech. Although the virus can survive for a short period of time on some surfaces, both CDC and the United States Surgeon General have indicated that it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com