Infectious Disease | COVID-19

Ensuring critical deliveries when every minute counts

UPS delivery driver Tony Mazzella continues to motivate knowing that he is relied on to deliver critical packages containing medical supplies and diagnostic equipment such as QIAGEN’s COVID-19 testing materials.

Tony Mazzella, a senior driver at UPS, has been with the company for over thirty years. Fueled by a love for his job, two cups of coffee in the morning and a commitment to serve those waiting on their deliveries, Mazzella’s day starts in the UPS office at 6:00 a.m. sharp. Key industries are struggling to meet the growing demands of the healthcare sector, and Mazzella wakes up at the crack of dawn to guarantee hospitals and labs get what they need first thing in the morning. “Traditional methods of receiving deliveries are not available anymore due to shelter-in-place and social distancing,” says Mazzella. “The job has changed. It’s changed a lot.”

Born and raised in the Bronx to a family with Italian roots, it’s easy to feel like you’ve known Tony all your life. In fact, that’s exactly how his on-route customers treat him. Under normal circumstances, it was not unusual for them to greet him with a hug or even a kiss on the cheek. “I’m a route driver. My customers are my family,” he says. However, these days the daily protocol looks a little different, and UPS drivers are making deliveries to new customers.

How does Tony Mazzella, New York UPS driver, keep motivated to continue working exhaustive hours delivering critical packages to new customers, such as hospitals and labs?
Hospitals, labs and clinics or whatever the case may be… the traditional way they used to get their merchandise is really not available anymore.
Tony Mazzella, Senior UPS driver, New York

QIAGEN teams up with UPS

“I have never delivered to hospitals before,” says Mazzella, “now I deliver to a hospital or lab every day.” An overwhelming amount of testing is needed during this phase of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. Operating in rapidly changing business environments, where customers may no longer be able to pick up supplies, UPS is helping QIAGEN in its mission to provide urgently needed COVID-19 testing materials to their customers, by delivering its nucleic acid extraction kits critical to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus testing, as well as its novel QIAstat-Dx Coronavirus testing cartridges to destinations around the world – quickly and reliably.

QIAGEN’s goal is to achieve global output of RNA nucleic extraction kits to support for over 10 million patient tests per month by the end of July 2020, and to reach capacity for 20 million monthly patient tests by end of October 2020. UPS teams are working tirelessly to help this high volume of kits to reach QIAGEN’s extensive customer base, and UPS drivers need to be properly trained to handle this shift in work environments.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Tony Mazzella considers his customers family, and is a recognized part of the community after 32 years as a UPS driver. He continues to bring his unwavering dedication and passion to the job every day - fueled by coffee, a feeling of responsibility, and a focus on better days ahead - and maintains a positive attitude even during the most stressful of times.
UPS is making sure that drivers are safe so we can continue delivering packages that are necessary for the public, whether it's medical supplies or toilet paper.
Tony Mazzella, Senior UPS driver, New York

Ensuring safe deliveries

Employees get daily safety briefs, all drivers are supplied with hand sanitizer and checked to make sure they are properly equipped before they head out to their routes. “Every day I wear gloves and vigorously wash my hands. We wear masks. We have the social distancing going on. In other words, contact is very minimal,” says Mazzella. UPS has also adapted protocols to deliver packages without requiring physical contact or signatures. “Customers no longer touch our boards. Once I confirm a customer, I release a package, put the name down and put a code in. It's an integrity thing,” says Mazzella.

Safety is always in the forefront at UPS to ensure that people are safe and deliveries reach their destination. After almost three decades on the job, Mazzella has never had an accident. “It’s not easy navigating a city like New York with all the traffic, pedestrians and even squirrels. You name it, there’s everything,” he says. “Just coming back safe to the building every day unscathed, that’s huge. I can’t even emphasize that. Imagine driving a huge truck every single day and not having an accident in 25 years.”

While ramping up its production capacity, QIAGEN has teamed up with UPS to deliver nucleic acid extraction kits critical to COVID-19 testing, as well as its novel QIAstat-Dx Coronavirus testing cartridges to destinations around the world.
Right now we're going through difficult times. It’s lonely. It’s different. But you know tomorrow is going to be another day and people are relying on you.
Tony Mazzella, Senior UPS driver, New York

Deliveries saving lives

UPS’s focus on safety and its unwavering commitment to delivering crucial supplies in a crisis situation have been invaluable in helping curb the COVID-19 pandemic’s ripple-out effect. “UPS is doing its due diligence to make sure that the drivers are safe so we can continue our valuable job of being essential employees and delivering packages that are necessary for the public, whether it's medical supplies or toilet paper. I feel privileged that I am delivering a sense of necessity to hospitals and bring joy to customers,” he says. “I recently delivered a box to a family and a six year old kid asked his father if these were the masks that were going to protect them. It is overwhelming.”

Mazzella accepts that the dynamic of his job has changed, but knowing that he’s helping people is what gets him out of bed in the morning. “It’s like when you’re at the gym and you push yourself to get that last rep. I push myself to deliver that last box so I can go home. Quite frankly it's exhausting, but you can't let this beat you down,” he says. “People are going to be relying on you so I have to make sure that I'm rested and I'm up for the task to come to work the next day.”

UPS is a global logistics leader currently providing extra support to public health bodies around the world with the shipment of crucial healthcare equipment. In Europe, UPS has recently invested $2 billion in its network and services to implement agile contingency plans and safety measures able to adapt to the rapidly changing business environments. Despite recent border closures and social distancing measures, the company is still able to ensure transportation of essential shipments in Europe and to destinations around the world.
Global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
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