© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Cluster Of COVID-19 Cases At Olathe FedEx Facility Appears To Be 'Contained,' Health Officials Say

A Federal Express delivery truck travels along a highway in Shawnee, Kan. Tuesday, June 21, 2005. FedEx Corp. said Thursday, June 23, 2005, its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings increased 9 percent from last year, but costs associated with the start-up of a new westbound, around-the-world flight kept the package deliverer's results below Wall Street expectations. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
FILE: The FedEx distribution center in Olathe opened three years ago and employs roughly 200 workers, more than half of whom have been tested now for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Nine cases were discovered at the distribution center last week, but testing has turned up only two more cases among workers since.

After nine workers at the FedEx distribution center in Olathe tested positive for COVID-19 last week, new test results for 119 workers at the facility show only two more cases.

“Our goal was to test a substantial portion of employees who may have been exposed to the virus, and that was accomplished,” Barbara Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in an email Monday.

The 119 tested workers represent just over half of the approximately 200 employees at the facility working in two shifts.

Mitchell said no additional testing was planned “as it seems any transmission is effectively contained.”

The department is working with FedEx to isolate the workers and trace their contacts.

The health department announced last week that nine employees at "an Olathe distribution center" it did not name had tested positive for COVID-19. The department said it was the first workplace-associated cluster of cases in the county.

FedEx later confirmed that the department was referring to its distribution center.

FedEx said it was cooperating with the department and offering voluntary testing to employees and vendors. The company also said it was providing hand soap, disinfecting wipes, masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer to employees, as well as performing temperature checks and making changes to ensure social distancing.

“FedEx took appropriate and immediate steps of isolating and quarantining as appropriate,” Mitchell said. “JCDHE is grateful for their cooperation.”

The 305,000-square-foot distribution center at 167th Street and Lone Elm Road covers seven acres and opened nearly three years ago.

The health department said that FedEx employees who were not tested can get tested at a drive-through facility planned for next week.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.