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Pandemic Influenza Fact Sheet

Pandemic has been defined as an outbreak of influenza, for which there is little or no immunity among humans and is easily spread over a wide geographic area that affects an exceptionally high part of the population.  They occur about every 30 years, with the last one in the U.S. being the swine flu in 1967.  Modes of transmission include coughing and sneezing, as well as contact with virus on objects in daily life.

Work mangers need to determine how to keep critical processes running if there is a 40-50% absenteeism rate.  Center of Disease Control (CDC) and local health services need to be monitored for the latest health advisories. In the event of an outbreak the Chancellor may take prudent actions such as cancelling classes, closing the university, sending/keeping “non-essential” employees home.

1. In campus departments, you can plan for pandemic by

  • Identify essential employees/positions to keep the core processes running.
  • Cross train employees for temporary re-assignment to vital areas.
  • Create a method for some employees to work from home.
  • Stockpile gloves, hand wash, N-95 masks, and similar items for employees.
  • Implement a mandatory stay-home policy for employees who are symptomatic (fever, chills headache, runny nose, etc)
  • Create a liberal leave policy for personnel who must care for sick family members.
  • Plan to cancel vacation and other types of leave.

2. Reduce risk of infection by

  • Isolating those who are already sick.
  • Quarantine those in homes with sick people.
  • Dismiss student from classes, social activities, child care.
  • Encourage alternatives to face-to-face meetings, i.e. “social distancing”
  • Reduce staff density in working group areas.
  • Modify or postpone public gatherings
  • Cancel work related travel.

3. Prevention and Control

  • Do not cough into the hand or the air in public.  Cough into the shirt or forearm/elbow if tissues are unavailable.
  • Use tissues and dispose of them properly.
  • Eliminate handshaking.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Use antiseptic towelettes or antiseptic gels if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching the eyes and mouth.
  • Get an annual flu vaccination to mitigate the impact of possible pandemic strains of flu.
  • Disinfect as possible, surfaces and commons areas, including work vehicles.
  • Use disposable cups and utensils.
  • Create a departmental disease surveillance protocol to monitor employees for signs of illness.
  • Enhance ventilation of offices by opening a window if possible.
  • Make N-95 (or higher) particulate face masks available to all employees
  • At home, stockpile enough food, medications, water and related living supplies for 21 days.

4. Special enforcement duties

  • Guarding vaccine distribution chains and distribution sites from the Strategic National Stockpile to maintain order and prevent theft.
  • Enforcing closure orders, curfew, travel limitations and restrictions on gatherings.
  • Enforcing quarantine orders and other involuntary restrictions.
  • Arranging for secure disposition of dead bodies during surges in deaths.
  • Assisting heath care providers and other agencies with security for delivery of essential food and medicine.
  • Work with Public Information Officers to disseminate information and alerts via mass e-mails, press conferences and other options.
 
 

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