Fort Collins hospital couriers dealing with COVID-19 samples walk off the job due to safety concerns

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DENVER (KDVR) — Many hospitals and nursing homes are dealing with a shortage of personal protective equipment, including masks and safety gear to keep nurses and doctors safe.

However, there are hundreds of others also working at these facilities who are also at risk for coronavirus, and now some of them are walking off the job.

A handful of couriers at Hospital Couriers Corporation in Fort Collins are protesting in front of the company’s offices.

“We want hazard pay. We deserve it. We’re carrying these specimens,” said Heather Lindley, a hospital courier.

Lindley and other employees at the company transport virus samples from nursing homes and hospitals to the lab. That includes COVID-19 samples.

“We’re very concerned we’re going to pick it up and bring it to our families or bring it into the community,” Lindley explained.

The problem? These couriers claim their employer isn’t providing them enough gloves, masks and sanitizer.

“I’m actually hands-on, touching these specimens,” said Amber Giles, an employee. “I’m telling my children at home that you can’t go outside. You can’t go and visit people because we don’t want you to get sick, but Mommy’s potentially bringing it home every night because I don’t have the proper equipment.”

The couriers also want hazard pay. Many have been in nursing homes where outbreaks have occurred. At least one courier even contracted pneumonia, but wasn’t tested for COVID-19.

“I think what Larimer County Health Department has forgotten about are all the vendors in and out of the hospitals. How do we get tests? There’s no way to get a test,” said Lindley.

Those concerns are also echoed by other non-medical workers. FOX31 has heard from from desk workers and janitorial staff at nursing rooms and hospitals.

They are concerns being shared from the front lines to the picket lines, as workers fight not only a virus, but also for their safety.

“It’s this company’s responsibility to take care of their employees. We are essential. We deliver lab specimens. We are dealing with COVID on the front lines,” said Lindley.

FOX31 did reach out to management at Hospital Couriers Corporation. A company representative told us they are providing as much PPE as possible and says some of the couriers’ claims are not accurate, but they did not elaborate.

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