Ernst & Young has closed the section of the office where the staffer who may or may not have swine flu worked so that it can take heightened disinfectant procedures there, the company said in an internal memo today. In addition, it has told employees who are uncomfortable working in the Times Square building that they can work from home.
Here’s the memo:
An important swine flu update
Subsequent to Vice Chair of People Nancy Altobello’s voicemail today, our Crisis Team learned of a confirmed case of swine flu among the EY staff. A staff member at 5 Times Square became ill Sunday after contact with a family member who had been exposed to the virus. She has now been treated, is resting at home and is doing well.
We do not know exactly when the staff member contracted the virus, but as mentioned she was taken sick on Sunday. According to the centres for Disease Control, the disease has a 24-hour incubation period, and she was not at work on Friday. Therefore we believe it is unlikely there will be further infection among our people.
Nonetheless, we are taking the appropriate precautions, and we want you to know about them:
First, we are following the procedures outlined by the centres for Disease Control and the New York City authorities.
Second, we are contacting those who work with or may have had contact with the employee so that they can take the right precautions.
Third, we have closed the section of the office where the employee worked so that we can take heightened disinfectant procedures there and we are taking additional procedures for disinfectant cleaning throughout the building.
Fourth, we have told people in 5 Times Square that if they feel uncomfortable about working in the building for the time being, although we believe the risk of contracting the flu is very low, they should feel free to work at home or off-site.
The epicentre of the swine flu outbreak is Mexico City, and the EY office there has taken a number of steps to minimize infection risk until this epidemic is under control. The Mexico City office remains open.
Through May 6, 2009, several Mexican Federal, State and school facilities will be closed and civic events cancelled consistent with government guidance. We are restricting travel of EY personnel to Mexico City through May 6. If you believe you must travel to Mexico City during this time, you should consult with Director of the Office of Firm Security John Imhoff (+ 1 202 327 8706) prior to doing so.
Important travel information:
If you are an international assignee or travelling on holiday to Mexico City, you should consider returning to your home location. Do not travel if you are ill.
For all EY travellers in Mexico City experiencing flu symptoms, medical care can be coordinated through our EY offices, as noted below.
Please note: international airports have started screening programs and are likely to detain or quarantine ill travellers
Should you have any questions or require special medical assistance in Mexico, please coordinate with Luis Belderrain. Luis can be reached at [email protected] or office phone + 52 55 52 83 86 92.
A cross-functional group led by the Americas Office of Firm Security and including representatives from Global, the Americas People Team, ESS, Communications and others are monitoring the situation and coordinating with our local office teams. We have established an informational hotline (+ 1 866 446 3639) that will provide updates as we deem necessary.
The Americas People Team and ESS organisation are coordinating steps to minimize workplace infection risk. Personal hygiene, office cleaning and other facility management precautions will be enhanced over the next few days. (You play a key role: see below.)
During this flu outbreak, some everyday actions will help you stay healthy:
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you should get sick, EY recommends that you stay home from work and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Seek medical care for an accurate diagnosis.
We’ll keep you updated on this situation through local office management, the Emergency Notification System and the Daily Connection.
EY Assist is available for general information, tips on managing your health, care for children and elderly, and coping with the stresses associated with these events.