Guidance for staff diagnosed with flu or flu-like illness

By Mark Ingerman, chief of Infectious Diseases

Situation:      

  • Guidance is needed early in the influenza season regarding the reporting and treatment options for staff who develop confirmed influenza or influenza-like illness.

Background: 

  • 2020 is anticipated to be a busy flu season. Historically, there has been uncertainty among staff as to where to seek care or to whom to report, when one develops an influenza-like illness or confirmed influenza.
  • Currently Occupational Health/Employee Health Policy states that all confirmed influenza is reportable to Occupational Health/Employee Health. This has created a surge of calls and questions for the Occupational Health/Employee Health Department.
  • We have changed the policy regarding reporting of illness to Occupational Health/Employee Health during the influenza season for 2019-2020.
  • To simplify the process and bring clarity, Infection Prevention and Occupational Health/Employee Health leadership made the recommendations below during the 2018-2019 season and recommend the same for 2019-2020.

Assessment: 

  • Guidance is being requested early in the 2019-2020 influenza season regarding the reporting and treatment options for staff.

Recommendation:    

  • If you have influenza-like symptoms during the flu season, DO NOT REPORT TO WORK AT THE HOSPITAL. Contact your manager.
  • Per policy, MLH staff with influenza should remain out of work for five days from symptom onset and be 24 hours fever free (off antipyretics) before returning to service.
  • Staff with flu-like illness or confirmed influenza outside of a confirmed exposure should seek care from their PCPs.
  • Staff identified as part of an Infection Prevention confirmed exposure will be given additional guidance regarding prophylaxis as indicated, in consultation with the Department of Health.
  • Occupational Health/Employee Health and Infection Prevention continue to be a resource to staff should further guidance be sought.
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