Well, it doesn’t see like I’ll be quiet about the Ebola virus anytime soon. If you’ve been paying attention to the news you’ll see that Spain has had a few cases and has recently had a nurse test positive for the disease and she was wearing protective clothing. So, is what we have in place good enough? Do the ‘people that know’ actually know how to stop and confine the disease from spreading if the care workers are still catching it?
Apparently she was wearing protective gear and was following strict rules within the hospital (Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, Spain) which was treating cases yet somehow she still contracted the disease. The preventative measures obviously weren’t’ good enough and I doubt she was gambling with her life by entering the room(s) of infected patients without any protective clothing.
So that leads me to wonder how the general populace will take it. Will office buildings become cautious of visitors with have the slightest cough? I worked and lived in Toronto during the SARS crisis years ago that killed dozens of people and let me tell you, if you coughed or sneezed – which could have been due to someone wearing too much perfume – it didn’t matter; you were looked at as though you were ill and carrying the plague. So now that a hospital has proven that even under the best circumstances, people can still get ill (though I highly doubt it was intentional), I think there will be a sense of panic kicking in; for office towers, airports, malls, stadiums and anywhere else where people gather.
There are conflicting measures to help protect against those that are sick and I’d assume that the best way is like being around people with a bad cold or the flu; don’t! We take precautions during the winter (or flue) seasons so let’s do the same now. It may not be enough – as the hospital in Madrid has shown – but it’s better than doing nothing, which is what officials seem to want us to do.
Since we’ve had SARS and other infectious diseases occur over the last few years (Remember H1N1? H1N5?) corporations can pull out their pandemic plans and ensure they’re ready to activate any necessary mitigation strategies. This could be to separate employees in the same department and have some of them working at different sites – or from home. And they should pull out their cleaning policies and Disaster policies to make sure they are up to date. Anything that can help mitigate a disaster will help – even though it might not stop a disaster.
© StoneRoad 2015
A.Alex Fullick has over 18 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Heads in the Sand” and “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”