Flu season is here: ‘Masks On’ declared at Michigan Medicine

December 4, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Please be advised that flu is increasing in the community, including more cases in the hospital. Therefore, the start of flu season at Michigan Medicine is being declared by the Department of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology.

Beginning today, Dec. 4, a “masks on” requirement will officially go into effect for all employees who have not received their flu vaccine. Masks must be worn where employees have face-to-face interactions with patients during the delivery of direct patient care, including the patient’s home.

Wearing a mask if you are not vaccinated protects the vulnerable patient population and also protects you, your family and colleagues from getting sick. The “masks on” requirement will remain in effect until the end of flu season. Masks are available at all Michigan Medicine main campus entrances in designated “flu stations.”

In areas not located on the main medical campus, masks will be provided to you by your manager. You will receive another message notifying you when flu season is over and masks no longer need to be worn.

Occupational Health Services offers free flu vaccines to Michigan Medicine employees, Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Recent changes have been made to the Droplet Precautions Policy to align with CDC recommendations. Effective immediately, there are no longer staff restrictions for providing care to patients in droplet precautions including influenza patients. All staff can safely provide care to such patients by following the standards outlined in the policy. If you have concerns due to an underlying health condition, you should discuss the concerns with your physician and director.

The second change is surrounding visitor restrictions. Children under the age of 12 will no longer be routinely restricted from visiting patients in droplet precautions during the flu season. The hospital may choose to implement interim visitor restrictions in the event of a severe flu season, which will be communicated as needed.

As a reminder: The influenza vaccination policy applies to everyone who works at the health system, including regular and temporary staff, faculty, students, trainees, vendors, contract personnel and volunteers, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact. This includes medical school employees and those who work in non-clinical settings.

Members of AFSCME, BMETs of the Skilled Trades Union, IUOE, and UMPNC unions should refer to their union contracts and/or memoranda of understanding pertaining to flu vaccinations for additional information that applies to each of the respective unions.

Regardless of flu vaccination status, employees who are ill with flu-like symptoms should not report to work until symptoms have resolved for at least 24 hours. Additional information about work restrictions for ill employees can be found here.

More information about this year’s flu prevention program is available by clicking here.

Contact the Infection Prevention & Epidemiology department at um-ice@med.umich.edu with any questions regarding mask usage. For additional information about mask usage, please check out these Frequently Asked Questions.