SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Sitting in her kitchen, Pamela Bilbo described the fever and body aches. She said it’s a good day, because she can get out of bed.
“It comes in waves,” Bilbo explained “One day doing okay, a few hours later, you are down and out.” Bilbo, 65, said she tested positive for COVID-19 in April.
On Thursday, she said she found something in the mail that not only shocked her, but added to her stress.
“A little two inch by two inch post-it note from my carrier was in there,” explained Bilbo. “That said they could no longer deliver my mail, because someone had tested positive for COVID-19 at this address.”
Bilbo explained that she worried about her bills and packages including her sisters cancer medication that they normally get through the mail.
“My mailbox is out on the street away from my house. I called Smithville Post Office and they couldn’t tell me why except Bastrop Police told them to stop my mail,” Bilbo explained. “I don’t know why they thought they had the right to shut my mail service off.”
After not hearing anything from the post office Bilbo contacted KXAN investigators for help.
“The notice to the customer regarding their mail delivery was left in error,” explained Communications Specialist Becky Hernandez in an email to investigator Arezow Doost. “We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by our customer. As soon as local postal managers were made aware, they took steps to resolve the issue and have confirmed that mail delivery has resumed.”
Hernandez said that she is not aware of any other instances, “The Postal Service has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Command Response leadership team that is focusing on employee and customer safety in conjunction with operational and business continuity during this unprecedented epidemic.”
Bilbo got a stack of mail over the weekend with another post-it from her carrier reading “I stand with you.”
“I hope they don’t do this again,” said Bilbo “… and I hope they don’t do it to anyone else just because we have the virus. We should not be discriminated against.”
Bastrop Interim Assistant Chief of Police Vicky Steffanic tells KXAN that they did not give such guidance and they don’t have jurisdiction in Smithville or over the Post Master.