Preparing for the fall and winter seasons, with the change in weather and the holidays, has always brought a sense of joy and excitement to our community. For those working in healthcare settings, fall and winter preparations also mean preparing for flu season. With the 2020-2021 flu season coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for each of us to take the utmost precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our patients.
The first and most important step we can all take to prevent the flu is to get our flu shots!. Each day, from September 21st – October 8th, Employee Health will be providing mobile and drive-through clinics. After October 8th, until November 16th, they will also be offering walk-in hours. A complete schedule is available on slide 19 of your Flu Campaign CBL on NetLearning. Ladies and gentlemen, please... get your flu shots! I am also happy to share that we administered 650 flu shots during our first full week! You will notice a change in our flu clinic process this year – no badge stickers. The sticker indicated whether or not the OMH representative received the flu shot which served as an indicator that employee should wear a mask. Our current UPP policy states that everyone should wear a mask thus eliminating the needs for badge stickers this year.
All staff, providers, and volunteers are required to either get the flu shot or complete a declination form. While we have a choice to decline, there are many who do not. We serve a population who often are immunocompromised, too young to receive their flu shot, or are at risk for severe complications from the flu. Protecting them by getting your flu shot is an easy thing to do. Don’t forget to encourage your friends and family to get their flu shots. If more of us are protected from infection, fewer of us can infect others.
The flu hospitalizes 410,000 - 740,000 patients each year. With COVID-19 already affecting capacities, we will need every one of our OMH family members to help us through this flu season. And as always, wash your hands, wear your PPE, and take care of yourself mentally and physically. We’re seasoned professionals at this point, and we will get through this together.