East Stroudsburg, PA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that nationally influenza activity is elevated and continues to increase across most key indicators. Thirty-one states including Pennsylvania are reporting widespread geographic influenza activity meaning at least half of the state’s regions are experiencing outbreaks of influenza or increases in influenza-like illness.
As you know, Pocono Health System recently reported that more than 85% of our employees have been vaccinated against the seasonal flu. Our comprehensive influenza vaccination program began in early October and continues. The goal of the program is to achieve 90% or higher immunization rate for all employed staff, credentialed medical staff, volunteers, and contracted workers.
At Pocono Health System, patient safety is our top priority and with the 2012-2013 influenza season well underway, vaccination is the primary method of reducing your risk of becoming ill from influenza or passing the flu to patients, coworkers, and family. In an effort to keep our patients, staff, and visitors healthy and continue to provide world class care close to home, we have implemented the American Hospital Association’s recommended policy supporting that all employees and clinical providers who have not received the influenza vaccination by January 6, 2013, be required to wear a surgical mask whenever they are within 6 feet of patients, visitors, or staff members. Please do not be alarmed by this, it is a precautionary measure to protect our patients, visitors, and staff members. This policy aims to achieve the highest possible level of protection.
In addition to these steps, Dr. Susheer Gandotra, our Director of Infection Control would like to remind you of the following general measures to keep the flu from spreading to others:
- Cover your nose and mouth at all times when coughing or sneezing. If you are observed coughing or sneezing or are visibly ill when visiting the hospital or any of our practices for any reason, you will kindly be asked to wear a mask.
- Stay at home when ill.
- Clean and disinfect high use surfaces, especially if an individual has been coughing or sneezing within that area.
- Thoroughly wash your hands often with soap and water.