Warning signs

Masked woman holds chest in pain

The Postal Service is advising employees who feel ill to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and stay home, especially if they are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms — which can appear within 2-14 days after exposure to someone with the virus — include:

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

This list is not all-inclusive, according to the CDC.

Postal Service employees who experience any of these symptoms — or any other symptoms that are severe or cause concern — should contact their health care provider and consider getting tested for COVID-19.

The CDC website has more information on symptoms and warning signs.

While it’s important to stay home when ill, it’s best not to get ill at all. The following are tips to prevent exposure to the virus and other infections:

  • Wear face coverings.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Finally, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60-percent alcohol.

The Postal Service has also provided this information to employees through stand-up talks, workplace posters and other means.

Keeping pace

More than 300 Postal Service employees recently completed Arizona/New Mexico District’s Tortoise and Hare Fitness Challenge, an annual effort to promote health and wellness.

The 36-week initiative aims to educate participants on a variety of topics, including maintaining good blood pressure, weight management and increasing physical mobility. The program is part of the Postal Service’s broader effort to promote employee health and wellness.

The Tortoise and Hare challenge also included weekly drawings in which participants received prizes, followed by a year-end luncheon that brought three randomly selected participants together with district leaders for a discussion of health and wellness goals and accomplishments.

The three participants were Kevin Cahill, a health and resource management specialist; Cheryl Hinch, a bulk mail technician; and Shaunynai Weatherly, a Phoenix Processing and Distribution Center distribution supervisor. They met with John Morgan, the acting district manager; Acting Phoenix Postmaster Tina Sweeney; and Yolanda Stenson, the West Valley, AZ, Processing and Distribution Center manager.

“My goal was to eat healthy and lose 25 pounds,” said Cahill, who has dropped about 18 pounds so far.

He added that he enjoyed seeing the success stories of other participants in the health challenge, as well as the program’s emphasis on diet and exercise.

The best part overall?

“Seeing progress,” he said.

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For the record

As more Postal Service business is being conducted remotely, the USPS Law Department is reminding employees to take care with Zoom recordings, emails and voicemail messages.

All three forms of communications are considered to be electronic records and can be subject to public information requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and litigation-related requests.

Here are some tips from the Law Department:

• Zoom recordings: Avoid recording Zoom meetings unless absolutely necessary for a business reason.

• Email communications: Keep emails to one subject and try to keep email chains organized by replying to the most recent email.

If the subject is highly confidential or sensitive, consider discussing the matter over the phone. If that isn’t an option, email only those with a need to know.

Also, don’t include personal information in business emails.

• Voicemail messages: The Postal Service recently arranged for many employees to receive their voicemails as emails. Be mindful that voicemail messages can be the subject of a FOIA or litigation request.

Employees who have questions should email the USPS Ethics Office or call its hotline at 202-268-6346.

Fighting back

Postal Service employees can participate in an upcoming webinar to learn how to deal with inflammation, which is a sign that your body is fighting harmful conditions.

The session, “Fighting Inflammation Naturally,” will be held Monday, Jan. 11, at noon EST.

Coletta Meyer, a health and wellness manager for GEHA, a not-for-profit provider of health plans for federal employees, and Kristen McGill, a nutritionist for the Giant supermarket chain, will conduct the webinar and discuss incorporating healthy foods with an anti-inflammatory diet to keep you feeling your best.

Participants must register before the event on the webinar website. After signing up, directions on accessing the webinar will be emailed to each registrant.

Following the webinar, every registrant will receive an email with a link to an archived recording and the slides.

Participation is voluntary. Nonexempt employees may only participate off the clock or during authorized breaks.

For more information, email the USPS Health and Wellness team.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 94.69 percent during the week ending Jan. 1, down 0.8 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected Jan. 6.

Western Pacific led the four areas with a rating of 96.35 percent, down 0.53 percent from a week ago, while Atlantic ranked fourth with a 92.25 percent rating, a 1.14 percent decline.

Among the 67 districts, Salt Lake City, part of Western Pacific Area, ranked first with a 97.39 percent rating, down 0.63 percent from a week ago, while Atlantic Area’s Philadelphia Metro District ranked last with an 80.27 percent rating, a 5.1 percent decline.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Stamp ceremony. The Postal Service will dedicate this year’s Love stamp during a virtual ceremony that can be viewed on the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages on Thursday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m. EST.

Postal Bulletin. Postal Bulletin’s Dec. 31 edition features an overview of the holiday returns shipping business, along with the latest updates to USPS policies, procedures and forms.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.