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Are You Ready for a ‘Triple-Demic’ For the Holidays?

December 5, 2022 Leave a comment DRI Admin

Health officials are warning of a serious jump in COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity throughout the winter, reminding us that the pandemic hasn’t left us yet. What can your organization expect?

The U.S. is seeing an unusually high increase in respiratory infections over the past few weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 47 jurisdictions throughout the U.S. have reported “high” or “very high” levels of flu-like illness, compared with 36 jurisdictions reporting such levels the previous week.

As a result, the flu has caused at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths, with hospitalization rate higher than it’s been in roughly a decade. Similarly, the RSV-associated hospitalization rate was 25 per 100,000 for the week ending Nov. 26, compared with a rate of 8.5 per 100,000 during the same period in 2021.

This rise in infections isn’t likely to slow down as the holiday season approaches and more people are gathered together in enclosed areas with less ventilation. There is also the issue of “vaccination fatigue,” as pointed out by CDC head Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“We have seen undervaccination in many diseases, not just in influenza and COVID-19,” Dr. Walensky told U.S. News and World Report.

Here are a few of the CDC’s recommendations for curbing the spread of disease in your organization:

  • Encourage all employees to get a seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Consider hosting a flu vaccine clinic at your workplace, if possible. Provide resources to employees about where they can get a flu vaccine in their community.
  • Develop and review sick leave policies that encourage sick workers to stay at home.
  • Develop other flexible policies to allow workers to telework (if feasible) and create other leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools close.
  • Provide resources and a work environment that promotes preventive actions to reduce the spread of flu – provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, and/or hand sanitizer, and encourage respiratory etiquette (covering faces during coughs and sneezes) and good hand hygiene.

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