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Berkeley Lab Pandemic Flu Information Site

News

8-21-09

Dear Colleagues:

I want to take this opportunity to discuss the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic, how the Lab is preparing, and what you can do to help us prepare for the upcoming influenza season, which may affect more Lab employees than it normally does.

As you have read, the novel H1N1 virus has spread widely throughout the world, affecting young healthy adults and pregnant women more than the average seasonal flu.  Because this is a new virus, few people have any immunity, which would prevent or mitigate the impact of the illness.  Fortunately, the virus as of this date has caused mild illness for most people.  But in preparation for the possibility that the virus may spread more widely or begin to cause more serious disease, I believe LBNL should continue to make extra efforts to prepare for this fall’s flu season.  Some of the preparations for this public health event will be unfamiliar, so I am writing now to allow some time for thought and discussion.

Berkeley Lab began its preparations this April by convening an influenza response task force, including representatives from EH&S, Facilities, Communications, IT, Human Resources and OCFO.  This group has initiated a number of TABL articles and travel advisories over the past 5 months. In addition, the task force has established a Pandemic Flu Website, which contains important information about H1N1, links to Center for Disease Control guidelines, as well as breaking news, travel policies, and guidelines from the Lab’s Human Resources Department. Another effort is underway to strengthen the Lab’s business continuity planning. Guidance has also been prepared outlining our response options during different stages of a pandemic.

We need your help to get ready for this fall’s flu season:

  • Read your email and visit the Pandemic Flu website.  This is the best way for us to reach you with information updates.
  • Consider direct deposit of your paycheck.  If you are ill at home, this is the best way to get paid without exposing others to your illness.  Currently, over 93 percent of the Lab is registered for this service.
  • Learn how to connect to Lab email from home, if you have a computer there.  If you do not have a computer at home, learn how to use the Lab’s information hotline at 800 445-5830 for an emergency message.
  • If you do get the flu, please stay home to avoid transmitting it to your co-workers.
  • Get a thermometer for your home, so you can comply with CDC recommendations to stay home for 24 hours after your last temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prepare for possible travel difficulties, both for business and personal travel.  Some countries will not allow you to enter with a fever, which can cause a period of quarantine.
  • Consider getting immunized against the seasonal flu.  If you are medically able to receive this vaccine, it can prevent illness, and forestall questions about what type of flu you might have.  LBNL Health Services has 5 flu vaccination clinics scheduled in October and November, to be announced later.  The same consideration should apply to your families or roommates at home.

I hope this information helps you get prepared for this fall.  For more information, please visit the Lab’s Pandemic and Business Continuity Plan websites.

Sincerely,
Jim Krupnick
Chief Operating Officer