The flu.gov website provided by CDC has recently added content specifically about planning for H1N1 during this season of influenza. Among the many target audience groups they address are “Small Businesses” and “Institutions of Higher Education” (IHEs). While many of us are involved at IHEs, the information in that section is directed mostly to those who are preparing for implementation of policy, for managing student health, facilities maintenance, etc. The “Small Business” information, however, can apply very well to libraries, which are anticipating staff shortages and some impact to their day-to-day operations. In the section on “How to Write Your Plan,” there is some excellent guidance to help prepare for personnel issues that may arise when staff are ill or are caring for family members who are ill. The CDC recommends that anyone who has had any type of flu stay home for at least 24 hours after body temperature has returned to normal without the aid of fever-reducing medications, and they are anticipating that most people who become ill will be absent from work or school for 7 to 10 days. Something to think about!
We’ve added another resource to the Pandemic Planning page here on the Toolkit. Check out the “Pandemic Planning Table” (available in both Word and PDF on the Pandemic Planning Page) for a descriptive and sequential method for developing an effective service continuity plan in the event of a global pandemic, such as the one we are facing now from the Novel H1N1 virus. The procedures shown in the table depict a schedule for pandemic preparedness. The table is loosely based on one from the World Health Organization (WHO), but the description of the levels has been adapted to suit this particular pandemic. While the WHO model is based on a virus that originates in animals (e.g. avian influenza), our model begins with a human-to-human novel virus. The procedures detailed in the Table we’ve created should be easily adaptable to just about any type of library. We welcome your comments and suggestions–what do you think?
The Toolkit has a new page to assist libraries taking part in pandemic planning. The page (click here to view) contains links to the CDC’s H1N1 site (including a link to follow the CDC Twitter content), as well as to several Word documents that contain information about pandemic planning, some service continuity issues that libraries may need to address, and a sample table-top exercise that can be used to assist in pandemic planning.
The focus of some of the content of the page is on academic health sciences libraries, but the content can be adapted to suit the needs of other types of libraries or institutions. We will continue to develop the page, adding relevant content as it emerges.