What's The Risk Of Working In A Warehouse?

In our series "What's the Risk?", experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk Of Working In A Warehouse?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. We got an email asking: "What do you think about warehouse workers? Are we at risk dealing with packages and boxes?”

We asked the experts: Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

 Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from working in a warehouse is low-risk.

"I would say the biggest risk comes with the people around you that are working there as well. And how closely are you working with them? You're still much more likely to get this virus from being in close proximity to someone who is infected rather than directly from a surface. And so even though surface transmission is possible, your biggest risk comes from the people around you," Rajapaske said.

"With any workplace, it's important that there's protocols in place to make sure that people are not coming to work ill. And also there's some sort of screening, you know, to make sure that we're compliant with that. Certainly also very important to be wearing masks, even if you're in a warehouse or you're in a building. There's no difference in that type of structure that you're in. It's really who you're around and how you're protecting yourself," Cary said.

"It's not usually in the area where you're doing the work. It's really the break rooms where people are sitting closer together, they're taking off the mask to eat that are really the issues there. So just being mindful of those situations really is important there," Hafiz said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here