U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
COVID-19 System Distribution Team
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNERS
As the COVID-19 virus swept through the country at the end of 2021, the Administration turned to the United States Postal Service, and a top-flight team operating under the direction of USPS Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President Pritha Mehra, to put free home testing kits into the hands of as many Americans as it could and in as short a period of time as possible, using the best available digital and distribution resources at its disposal.
On the day after Christmas, as most of the USPS staff were enjoying a well-deserved holiday break, the work began in earnest. Called back to the office and with a planned rollout date of no later than mid-January, there was no time to relax; the team worked around-the-clock for weeks to stand up the new Test Kit ordering portal and enhance fulfillment capabilities.They established a system with triple redundancy and new architecture that separated routine customer interactions from order fulfillment.
To date, more than 80 million Americans have received COVID-19 test kits through the U.S. Postal Service during two phases of delivery.USPS projected and prepared for up to 25 million requests an hour in the early stages. Peak volume per hour was 8.7 million; the team was more than able to handle the demand by building a digital operation easily capable of handling the amount of public traffic. The USPS program continues to distribute roughly 100,000 new kits each day.
The program has been the embodiment of the national mission to save lives and keep countless Americans informed and protected from the spread of a virulent COVID strain. That mission has been received with across-the-board praise from customers, federal officials, and media outlets.. As Postmaster General Louis DeJoy put it, “there are few assignments the Postal Service has received that better exemplify our public service mission than the request of the Biden Administration to deliver America’s COVID-19 test kits.”