The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) recently made a Declaration of Widespread Flu Incidence Statewide across Rhode Island.
Michael Fine, MD and director of HEALTH, made the announcement.
Healthcare workers who did not receive their flu vaccines now are required to wear surgical masks when they are in any direct contact with patients.
Direct patient contact includes any routine face-to-face interactions between patients and healthcare providers – serving food, participating in activities or entering a room.
Flu symptoms include cough, fever, body and head aches, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting and fatigue.
Statistics show that many Rhode Islanders die from the flu each year. There are hundreds of hospitalizations due to the flu.
Experts report that the flu vaccine for this year does not precisely match the active flu strain currently in circulation (H3N2), but the experts still insist that vaccines are the best way to avoid contracting and spreading the flu. They encourage all Rhode Island citizens to receive their flu vaccines immediately.
"Flu is here in Rhode Island, and all signs indicate that this flu season is expected to be more severe than those in recent past," Dr. Fine said. "We encourage all Rhode Islanders to protect themselves and those around them by being immunized against influenza. Our healthcare workers have an obligation to protect those they care for by getting immunized or wearing a mask as required by the Department of Health's regulations.”