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State Letter #09-30

H1N1 Influenza and Pandemic Flu Preparedness and Response

Published: September 17, 2009
Types:
State Letter
Tags:
h1n1, pandemic

TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
REFUGEE HEALTH COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
MUTUAL ASSISTANCE ASSOCIATIONS
ORR SERVICE PROVIDERS

FROM: Eskinder Negash
Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

SUBJECT: H1N1 Influenza and Pandemic Flu Preparedness and Response

With the approaching flu season in the United States and the growing global concerns about the H1N1 influenza, the Office of Refugee Resettlement encourages our partners, grantees, and other refugee service providers to have business continuity plans and consider implementing other recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for responding to the 2009-2010 flu season.

In preparation for the impact of seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza, the State and Wilson/Fish refugee resettlement programs should review their respective Emergency Operational Plan for Pandemic Influenza that was developed as requested in the March 2006 ORR State Letter (#06-10), “Instructions to States to Amend State Plans with Emergency Operational Planning for Pandemic Influenza.” If necessary, the State and Wilson/Fish programs should update or develop new plans that assure ORR that refugee programs, services and populations are included in State pandemic influenza emergency or any other emergency operational plans. Each State must report their current efforts to prepare for pandemic and H1N1 influenza in their ORR-6 Schedule A for ORR State Analysts’ review.

Influenza Preparedness and Response

In August 2009, the CDC released new guidance that non-healthcare employers should take now to decrease the spread of seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu in the workplace. The guidance includes additional strategies to use if flu conditions become more severe and some new recommendations regarding when a worker who is ill with influenza may return to work.

Some actions that the employers should take now in preparation for the flu season include

  • Reviewing or establish a flexible influenza pandemic plan
  • Engaging state and local health department to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information
  • Allowing sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs
  • Developing other flexible leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members or for children if schools dismiss students or child care programs close

Resources

For additional information on H1N1 and pandemic flu preparedness in English, please check the following websites:

www.flu.gov/ - USG
www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ - CDC
www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html - WHO

Attached is a list of websites that provide information regarding H1N1 and pandemic flu in various languages (pdf 113KB).