AUBURN — A person who had access to and worked at the TD Bank call center was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, according to the company.

The bank said it learned last Wednesday that “a non-TD employee with access to the Auburn call center received a presumptive positive test result.”

A number of workers said they were told it involved a person hired to clean the large call center at the Auburn Mall.

The company said it notified “our Auburn colleagues” of the test result, though at least some of the hundreds of employees of the call center said they heard about it only through the rumor mill.

“The health and well-being of our colleagues is our top priority, which is why we continue to implement additional safeguards in accordance with public health guidelines and our policies,” said Susan Leepson, a spokeswoman for the Canadian-based bank.

The call center, which sometimes has more than 250 people on duty, said late last week that it sent five workers home after they fell ill during a training session there with “cold or flu-like symptoms.”

Thirty-three employees who had been in contact with those five people were also sent home, the company said, and told to self-quarantine rather than risk spreading the potentially deadly coronavirus that originated in China late last year.

Call centers are problematic for controlling the disease, an expert said, because of their tight quarters, shared equipment and constantly rotating staff.

One of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in South Korea was traced to a call center.

Another call center, in South Carolina, had to close for a deep cleaning this month after one of its employees tested positive for the virus.

A number of call centers across the country have faced complaints from workers worried about possible exposure to the new virus.

Paul Stockford, a Tennessee-based research director for the nonprofit National Association of Call Centers, said last week that their employees have a “pretty high risk” of exposure.

Stockford said he tells executives in the business to “automate and go to the cloud as fast as you can” because it’s the only way to cope with the spreading virus.

He said his first advice is to “get your agents home immediately.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: