Even as he tried to reassure the public that the mail is overwhelmingly safe, Ridge conceded there was at least a slight risk of infection.
"To tell you that it is absolutely, positively, for all times, for all purposes, forever risk-free — I don't think anybody's ever said that," Ridge said. "But … we think you ought to open your mail and you ought to use the postal system."
• Second N.J. Inhalation Case Confirmed
State officials in New Jersey disclosed today that a second postal worker from the Hamilton Township facility has been diagnosed with inhalation anthrax. The employee, a woman, was released from the hospital and is reportedly recovering from the illness after being treated with antibiotics.
A second female postal worker from the facility remains hospitalized after testing positive for inhalation anthrax. And three other workers have been diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax.
This afternoon's announcement brought the total number of confirmed inhalation cases to 10.
• Anthrax Found at ABC
ABCNEWS announced today that tests confirmed the presence of anthrax in a mailroom at the network's headquarters in New York.
The 7-month-old son of an ABCNEWS producer who visited the bureau tested positive for cutaneous anthrax earlier this month, but the cause of the infant's infection was not immediately known. The baby is recovering.
Anthrax had previously been detected at the New York headquarters of CBS and NBC as well as at the New York Post. In the NBC and Post cases, letters containing anthrax were found. No suspicious letters were found at ABC or CBS.
ABCNEWS President David Westin said the entire second floor, where the contaminated mailroom is located, has been disinfected.
• Anthrax Forces Supreme Court Evacuation
The nation's highest court had not convened outside the Supreme Court building since it was constructed in 1935, but the justices heard oral arguments today for a second straight day at a nearby U.S. District courthouse.
The unprecedented displacement was prompted by the discovery last week of anthrax spores at an off-site inspection warehouse that handles mail sent to the high court. A court spokeswoman announced Monday that anthrax was also detected in the basement mailroom of the Supreme Court building itself.
All 400 court employees, including the nine justices, were tested and given antibiotics as a precaution.
• New 'Hot Spots' Found in Washington
The number of known anthrax "hot spots" (sites where anthrax has been detected) in the nation's capital climbed this week as authorities announced the discovery of the bacteria in three other federal government buildings and two new postal facilities.
Anthrax was discovered last week at an off-site facility that handles the State Department's mail and officials said Monday the bacteria had also been found in two of the mailrooms at the State Department building, and on mail pouches found at a diplomatic security annex and at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru.