The son of a seasonal worker at an Amazon warehouse in Irvine who died from COVID-19 after being called in to work during the pandemic says he wants to see the company provide more transparency and do more to take care of its employees.
Harry Sentoso, 63, of Walnut died April 11, shortly after arriving at a hospital, his family said. He had just returned to work as a seasonal employee at the Amazon facility two weeks prior in order to help fill orders during the crisis. He had worked on-and-off as a seasonal employee for Amazon for several years.
He began feeling ill from what he thought was a cold on April 3, after completing his first week back on the job, family said. He continued working another week, but fell unconscious and was rushed to a hospital on April 11.
He succumbed to the virus during the early morning hours of April 12, which was his 27th wedding anniversary, the Los Angeles Times reported.
His son, Evan Sentoso, raced to the hospital to see his father, but it was already too late.
“When I arrived at the hospital, he was already dead,” Evan Sentoso said. “That was the worst day of my life.”
“He was definitely the wealthiest man, in terms of his compassion and love for other people,” the son said.
He said his mother also came down with COVID-19, but has since recovered.
Evan Sentoso said he believed Amazon could be doing more to safeguard its workers..
“It really comes down to transparency and empathy,” he said. “Right now, they’re not releasing any public numbers on positive cases and deaths in the facilities. Workers should have the right to know the conditions they are subjecting themselves to.”
Amazon announced in mid-March that it planned to hire 100,000 workers to handle increased demand during the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times. In April, it began hiring 75,000 more to keep up with demand as it resumed shipping more nonessential items to customers.
Representatives for Amazon said in a written statement that the company alerts employees via text message of confirmed COVID-19 infections among coworkers, but did not know about Harry Sentoso’s illness.
“His loved ones are in our thoughts and we are supporting fellow colleagues in the days ahead,” according to the statement.