coronavirus molecule (creativeneko/Shutterstock.com)

Feds’ growing exposure to COVID-19

A roundup of confirmed cases in seven agencies by GovExec is one of the first to offer a preliminary summary of cases— coming in at just over 1,400. The actual number of infections is likely to be higher, as “most agencies did not disclose how many employees are home on quarantine due to potential exposure to colleagues who tested positive,”  the article said. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Postal Service have the highest tolls so far. The State Department and the Transportation and Security Administration, among others in the report’s list, follow.

Last week, the American Federation of Government Employees filed a class action in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, asking for “a 25% hazardous-duty pay differential for each day federal workers are required to work near infected objects or people ‘without protective devices that afford complete protection,’” Bloomberg reported. The proposed class could include more than 100,000 government employees, the suit said.

 Since the crisis hit, much of the federal workforce has switched to telework to reduce the danger of contracting COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of other feds, however, still must report to worksites -- to care for the sick, deliver the mail, or perform other vital government functions.

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