Tony Kessler 409 Posts
How concerned are you about the upcoming swine flu season? What special precautions, if any, is your organization taking? Here is a link to an interesting article from today's Wash Post. tk
We have large populations of individuals here both on an ongoing basis and short term. The potential for illness is high due to the amount of people on site at any time.
We have an older dorm that is no longer in use and we may convert it over to a full time quarantine/sick bay area soon.
This summer, a camp in central Oregon had 60-80 kids get sick in a short time. Many of the sick kids were tested and H1N1 was confirmed. There were no deaths to my knowledge but it brought "reality" back to all of us here in the Pac NW.
The difficulty I see is the symptoms (coughing, fever, sore throat) are so common and are not always related to H1N1. The recommended quarantine period is 7 days. I have actually quarantined our staff when we have had suspected Norovirus outbreaks and they get cabin fever after 48 hours. Its not a pleasant experience.
The fall school season will be interesting. I think we may see situations where parents are keeping kids out of school if they are concerned that their child could be exposed.
I agree with Frank about the hysteria aspect of it; so far we haven't had any overreactions but we do have a lot of people with younger kids and if the schools and daycares start closing because one kid comes down with it, we could have some real issues at some of our smaller branches. So far, though, I haven't known of any branch or department where it's gone so far as people not coming to work because one employee was sick, so the absences we're more worried about are because people can't find child care if their kids can't go to school/daycare. I read an article where they were saying that they are recommending that schools not close even if there is a confirmed case, and they've also said that they've begun recommending that kids can go back to school 24 hours after the last sign of fever, so that is better than expecting to keep them out for a full week even if they aren't sick that long.
As part of our wellness plan, we have paid for our employees to have seasonal flu shots for many years now, but so far we don't know if we're going to pay for H1N1 shots also. We're currently in the information-gathering stage on that.
So far no problems in the attendance issue in this part of the country and it is my understanding that we have had confirmed cases within 30 miles of our town.
We too provide flu vaccines every year, according to our usual supplier they are not sure if they will have an adequate supply for the usual business customers this year.
Anyone with flu symptoms MUST stay home.
Follow the 20/20 rule. Every twenty minutes you must wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Utensils at salad bars must be changed at the time of refilling any container.
All public areas such as counters, tables, chairs, etc. must be sanitized every day.
Also, the stores have a big bottle of sanitizer at each counter for customers to use if they wish.
Since we deal with the public we are at higher risk. The office staff uses sanitizer because of handling all the paperwork that comes from the stores.
I've never been one to be overly cautious or nervous about these things, but I have to admit that after the news keeps on reporting how hard it is going to hit, I am a little nervous.
Bad idea, now I feel like I have all the symptoms. Power of suggestion.
Now that you mention it, Im feeling a bit warm...
I talked with our local Health Dept. last week and they did not know when they would receive the H1N1 vaccine or how much they will receive. They commented their information on this changes almost daily. We will make the standard flu vaccine available to all employees around mid Ocotber.
Trust everyone will do their best to stay well - keep the ol bottle of hand sanitizer close by.