Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Amazon on Thursday announced that more than 19,000 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past six months.
The company said that it tallied 19,816 presumed or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus among its 1.37 million Amazon and Whole Foods Market front-line employees throughout the United States between March 1 and Sept. 19.
Amazon said the number of infections were 42% lower than an estimate of 33,952 cases based on analysis of the Amazon and Whole Foods Market workforce against the general population rate.
The company also said it is currently conducting "thousands of tests a day" with plans to expand to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.
There have been at least eight confirmed COVID-19 deaths among Amazon workers this year, but the company did not include death totals in its report.
Thursday's release follows calls by labor groups, politicians and regulators for Amazon to disclose the number of workers who have contracted COVID-19.
Amazon previously declined to release the numbers suggesting they would be misleading and lacked context, saying in Thursday's report that the number of infections would be "more powerful" of other companies shared similar data.
"We hope other large companies will also release their detailed learnings and case rates because doing so will help all of us," the company said. "This is not an arena where companies should compete -- this is an arena where companies should help one another."
Walmart said in April that fewer than 1% of its approximately 1.5 million U.S. employees had contracted COVID-19.
In May, workers from Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, FedEx held a "sickout" strike due to what they described as flawed policies and lack of protective equipment that left them exposed to the virus.Sign up for our daily Top News Newsletter