CDC updates

The Postal Service is sharing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19 symptoms.

According to CDC, infected individuals have reported a wide range of symptoms, and some infected individuals have not had any symptoms.

COVID-19 symptoms may appear within 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and may include one or more of the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

CDC advises seeking medical attention immediately if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken, or bluish lips or face.

In addition, CDC has updated its online FAQs regarding COVID-19 and the mail.

According to CDC, there is still a lot that is unknown about how COVID-19 spreads. 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 Surgeon General Jerome Adams have indicated that it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging.

It may be possible that people can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. According to CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed.

Postal Service employees should continue to follow preventative measures such as wearing cloth face coverings, performing proper handwashing and maintaining social distancing whenever possible while on delivery routes, at retail counters and within USPS workplaces.

The Postal Service distributed a stand-up talk last week with the updated information. The organization will continue to provide updated safety guidance and recommendations to ensure employees and customers are informed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees can also refer to the COVID-19 Blue and LiteBlue pages for additional updates.

Public trust

The Postal Service wants employees to know that the organization’s ethics rules continue to apply during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees should remember they are prohibited from:

“Postal employees perform a public service that is based on the public’s trust,” said Jessica Brewster-Johnson, senior ethics counsel. “Public service must be free of any taint of private financial interest. Maintaining the public’s trust drives positive business results for the Postal Service. Following the ethics rules helps maintain the public’s trust in the Postal Service.”

The Ethics Blue page has more information. If you have questions, call the ethics hotline at 202-268-6346 or send an email to ethics.help@usps.gov.

Replenish line

USPS and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have made a procedural change for replenishment of flags distributed through the Postal Service Burial Flag Program.

One of the most powerful symbols recognizing military service, and an enduring memento treasured by many deceased veterans’ families, U.S. flags in the program will now be ordered through the eBuyPlus system and shipped from the Topeka, KS, Material Distribution Center (MDC).

Flags were previously replenished by the VA upon receipt of a completed VA Form 27-2008 along with supplemental eligibility documentation provided by a deceased veteran’s family member or funeral director.

Through the program, all retail Post Offices serve as a burial flag repository in accordance with Retail Operations Handbook PO-209 and Administrative Support Manual 474.

Following flag issuance, it is critical that a completed current VA Form 27-2008 is mailed within three days to the following address, superseding form instructions:

Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Rd
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

Flag issuance must not be delayed or refused because additional documentation — including discharge paperwork such as a DD Form 214 — is not available at the time of request, as long as the applicant signs VA Form 27-2008, certifying eligibility.

Orders for burial flags should be placed through eBuyPlus (NSN 8345-00-656-1432) and fulfilled by MDC in accordance with the 2020 Post Office Burial Flag Replenishment SOP.

For emergency burial flag requests, contact MDC at 800-332-0317 or MDC.CustomerService@usps.gov.

Common census

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. When was the first mass mailing for the U.S. census?

a) 1790
b) 1960
c) 2010
d) 2020

2. True or false: Under the Hatch Act, Postal Service employees can engage in political activity while inside a postal vehicle, but not while wearing a postal uniform.

a) True
b) False

3. USPS employees who are contacted by members of the news media should refer them to which website?

a) Link
b) Postal Pro
c) USPS Newsroom
d) None of the above

4. Fill in the blanks: This spring, USPS is delivering an estimated (blank) coronavirus stimulus checks from the U.S. Treasury Department and (blank) eligibility notices from the Internal Revenue Service.

a) 5 million, 8 million
b) 8 million, 5 million
c) 60 million, 81 million
d) 81 million, 60 million

5. Which TV show recently featured a guest appearance by Kelly Mathaw, a Detroit letter carrier?

a) “ABC World News Tonight”
b) “Good Morning America”
c) “Live with Kelly and Ryan”
d) “The View”

Answers: 1) b. 2) b. The Hatch Act prohibits federal workers from engaging in political activity while on duty, while wearing a uniform, while on federal property or while inside a federal vehicle. 3) c. 4) c. 5) c.