Scotland Health Care System will not be taken by surprise should North Carolina experience an influenza outbreak this season, hospital officials said.
The system instituted a mock drill this week to test the ability of staff to be quickly vaccinated in the event of an influenza outbreak.
Officials said that preparing for an influenza outbreak before an actual outbreak is important.
“Scotland Health Care System’s mandatory flu vaccination policy for all associates and volunteers is for the protection of our patients, associates and the community from influenza,” said Tammy Holloway, employee health nurse. “Even before our mock drill was instituted on Wednesday almost ten percent of our staff had received the flu vaccine.”
Many other health care facilities have made flu immunizations for workers a priority. The practice of requiring 100 percent compliance among healthcare workers is encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and the N.C. Hospital Association.
Wednesday’s mock drill was announced in the hospital at noon.
“We received notice that elsewhere in North Carolina, other hospitals are inundated with Influenza victims and an influenza pandemic has been announced for the state,” Holloway said. “Our ‘mock’ objective is to identify, triage, isolate and treat infectious patients and track these patients through the system.”
The mock drill was officially in effect as a Class II Disaster. During the four-hour drill, the staff call back system was instituted and a mass staff influenza vaccination clinic was held from 1 to 4 p.m. Vaccination is mandatory for all staff, however, those associates not working during the drill may receive their flu vaccination on the other scheduled flu clinic dates.”
Dave Salzlein, incident commander during the drill, said the mandatory flu vaccination requirement has a winning outcome all around.
“Last year’s statistics show those hospitals requiring the flu vaccination had a significant drop in the number sick hours taken by employees during the flu season,” he said. “More importantly, patients and visitors to Scotland Health Care System have an extra layer of protection from the virus. “
Holloway said that while the drill was not real, the system is serious about vaccinating our associates against the flu.
“Should a flu pandemic occur in our area we are prepared to continue to provide excellent care to our patients. We also encourage community members to contact their medical provider or the Scotland County Health Department about receiving a flu shot.”