Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano

Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano

In a press conference held on Monday, April 27, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano addressed swine flu (A H1N1) as it affects the American workplace.

She addressed the need for private employers to help the federal and state governments protect their workers. “We are reaching out to the private sector to make sure that they are preparing and to inform them of the latest actions we are taking. It’s important that they be thinking ahead about what they would do should this erupt into a full-fledged pandemic, which it has not yet, by the way,” she stated.

Secretary Napolitano stated “we are taking precautionary measures with respect to the health of our own workforce. We have prepositioned antivirals for all the nine Border Patrol sectors and for our Coast Guard sectors to assure they remain at full strength. We’ve provided guidance to all employees on how to use antivirals.”

“Everybody has a role to play here. It’s our function to make sure that what the government is doing is coordinated, that we are thinking in advance of the problem. But, again, government cannot do this alone. We all have an important part to play.

Asks for Common Sense

Secretary Napolitano stressed that all federal and state agencies that common sense will go a long way here to mitigate the impact of any flu.

“Common sense means washing hands … covering your mouth if you cough or sneeze … staying home from work. If you have the flu, you believe you have the flu, you have a fever, you have a heavy cough, we’re asking people don’t go to work; don’t go to a place where you can infect other people. These are straightforward and simple measures, but they can materially improve our chances of avoiding a full-fledged pandemic.

“I mean, the normal tendency is, you know, we have a lot of Type A personalities and people want to go, keep working, and—we’re saying don’t do that if you believe realistically that you have the flu”

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