How Local Public Health Can Help Businesses Plan for Pandemic Flu
On this page:
Impact of pandemic flu on business
Role of public health
Implications for businesses and actions to consider
Scope of work
Business engagement outcomes
PDF versions formatted for print: How Local Public Health Can Help Businesses Plan for Pandemic Flu (PDF: 48KB/3 pages)
- Engage key businesses in business continuity planning in preparation for pandemics and other large-scale public health events.
- Identify resources and best practices to assist local businesses in continuity planning.
- Establish ongoing communication and coordination with area businesses.
Pandemic flu refers to a worldwide epidemic involving the spread of a flu virus to which few if any human beings have previously been exposed. Because of this, a pandemic flu has the potential to cause increased levels of serious illness and death in a very short period of time. The current outbreak of in various parts of the world is of concern to health officials because it could lead to an influenza pandemic.
- From 25-35% of the workforce could be affected at any given time.
- The economic impact in the U.S. could range from $71.3 to $166.5 billion.
- The epidemic could persist for two months or longer.
- Psychological impacts on the workforce will be extreme.
- Community containment measures, such as closing schools and other establishments and canceling events, may be implemented to minimize disease spread.
- Brief businesses on pandemic flu and community containment measures that may be used i.e., (social distancing, restriction of large public gatherings, school closures, etc.)
- Provide technical assistance
- Establish ongoing communication with businesses before, during, and after an event
- Limit death and illness
- Preserve continuity of essential government and business functions
- Minimize social disruption
- Minimize economic losses
This planning is a model for responding to any rapidly emerging or unexpected biological hazard. Many of the activities overlap with preparations to counteract chemical, radiological, and biological terrorism.
- Due to travel, a flu pandemic and other emerging diseases such as SARS could spread rapidly
- A pandemic is widespread and counties will not be able to rely on other government entities for staff and resources
- There are limited supplies of antiviral drugs, and vaccine is not likely to be available for 6-8 months from the onset of pandemic flu or other newly emerging infection
- Pandemic flu will overwhelm the medical system
- Ill individuals may be isolated and their contacts quarantined during the first stages of the pandemic to delay spread in the community
- In addition, community containment measures may be implemented to control the spread of disease
- 25%-35% of the workforce may be ill at any given time due to pandemic flu
- Do businesses have human resources policies for workers isolated or quarantined and unable to work?
- Do businesses have continuity and contingency plans for staff shortages in critical functions due to pandemic flu or other emerging infections?
- Do businesses have resources and capabilities that would be of benefit to the community – capital resources, space and facilities, manpower, etc.?
National Pandemic Plan - http://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/federal/hhspandemicinfluenzaplan.pdf
|Elected Officials||Businesses||Government and Other Partners||LPH Staff|
(E.g., county executive, city mayors)
(List specific local businesses)
(E.g., county, cities, suburban cities’ association, public utilities, university)
(E.g., CHS administrator, PHN Director, PHPCs)
Lead Staff/ Other Participants
Timeline/ Completed By
|1.||Develop business engagement plan|
|2.||Obtain plan approval|
|4.||Brief government partners and elected officials|
|5.||Conduct key informant interviews with key stakeholders|
|6.||In partnership with business, convene a county business forum on pandemic flu|
|7.||Establish a “leadership circle” of business representatives to assist with planning and provide ongoing leadership|
|8.||Follow-up re continuity plans and ongoing assessment of need for additional resources, briefings, etc.|
Ongoing meetings, etc.
- Establish regular and ongoing communication with local businesses. Obtain key contact lists and emergency contact lists.
- Identify “promising practices” and resources that can be used as models for business continuity, human resources policies, and preparedness planning.
- Inventory resources that could be available during an event and establish utilization agreements if needed.