Prisons, however, have also had to think of ways to prevent the spread of the virus not only among employees, but among the offenders housed in the unit.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the number of employees with flu-like symptoms that have been reported is small, but the number has increased from this time in 2012.
However, TDCJ does report seening a significant increase in offender's reporting flu-like
The following is a statement from TDCJ explaining the precautions taken to prevent both staff and offenders from catching / spreading the flu virus:
"Our methods of control actually start before we have someone with symptoms. At the beginning of flu season (around late September) we start encouraging staff to receive a flu shot. During that time, we also begin vaccinating all the offenders that have certain chronic conditions that according to the Centers for Disease Control put them at an increased risk of contracting the flu. In addition, all offenders who are age 50 or older are offered the vaccination.
We also have educational materials posted at the unit that encourage hand washing and cough etiquette. Ill employees are not allowed to come to or remain at work. They are encouraged to see their private physician.
Once a unit has someone identified with symptoms consistent with the flu, measures are taken to control the spread. Offenders who have symptoms and are waiting to see medical will wear a surgical mask or be placed in a space at least six feet from other offenders. Offenders who are determined by medical to have flu-like illness, are single-celled or co-horted (housed with patients with like symptoms) until they are free of fever for 24 hours or until seven days has passed (whichever is longer).
Excluding medical emergencies, these ill offenders are not transported off the unit until the infectious period has passed. Visitation is also not permitted during this time for the patient. Unit providers may prescribe an antiviral such as Tamiflu to the ill offenders when clinically indicated.
Staff that are required to come within six feet of the patients are provided surgical masks to wear. Common areas and areas where patients with flu like symptoms have been cared for are disinfected regularly with a bleach solution.
Daily reports are sent to the Office of Public Health so that we may track the spread of the illness."