WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — As the Omicron variant continues to cause worker shortages, the United States Postal Service is facing challenges.

In some areas, like West St. Paul, mail is taking much longer to make it to its destination.

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“We’ve got it twice in the last week,” said resident John Zanmiller.

Mary Neustel said she went four days without receiving mail last week. Others told WCCO they didn’t get mail for a week, then all at once.

“I think it was really cold, or maybe they didn’t have enough employees, or I had no idea,” Neustel said.

She relies on the U.S. Postal Service for her bills. Zanmiller relies on it for his health.

“The really big thing is medication. Both my wife, who’s diabetic, and I’ve got a number of issues, especially now with the hospitals on red, we rely on the postal service to deliver our medicines,” Zanmiller said.

He says the faces of his mail carriers are changing, as are the times of deliveries.

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(credit: CBS)

“Normal delivery sometimes 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. in the afternoon. We are seeing them show up at 6 p.m.” he said.

Last Tuesday, the American Postal Workers Unions reported more than 19,200 postal workers were either sick or quarantining — more than twice as many as the prior two weeks.

A USPS Spokesperson issued WCCO the following statement in regard to reported delays and disruptions:

Our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and we are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day. When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to our attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer’s concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.

Despite the delays, residents like Jason Smock understand the challenges of the job.

“Keep up the good work,” Smock said. “We understand that it’s tough, and it’s not an easy job and we appreciate the effort.”

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“Thank you. That’s it. Just thank you. Brighter days are coming,” Zanmiller said.

Kirsten Mitchell