In light of the flu season, the Washington Post is reporting that the federal government has issued new guidance for their employees.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo last week providing guidance to employees in the hope of protecting the workforce and ensuring the continuity of operations. Workers were reminded that have the option to telework or alter their schedule to accommodate doctor’s appointments. They were also told to consider other habits, such as washing their hands more often, or social distancing.
Supervisors were ever told that they had the authority to place employees involuntarily on paid, excused leave, forcing them to stay home and out of the workplace.
All of this comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly flu reports keep showing widespread flu cases. In their report for the week ending January 12th, 48 states were reporting widespread flu activity, up from 47 in previous weeks. The remaining two states still reported flu activity, but on a regional scale. The only region not showing elevated activity was Guam. The Midwest region, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin reported the highest percentage cases that tested positive for flu at 53.9%.
Despite the numbers, however, the CDC is still showing a reduction in the number of positive flu cases. This is consistent with a trend that NAHAM News reported last week (Flu Season Hits Height), and may suggest that the season is in decline after a peak around New Year’s.
The most effective preventative measure is still to get a flu shot. You can find a vaccination opportunity on the CDC’s flue website, www.flu.gov.