Government officials are calling on U.S. businesses to help manage swine flu this fall by getting vaccines to vulnerable workers and encouraging employees with symptoms to stay home.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Wednesday that employers should develop plans for managing both seasonal and swine flu. Businesses should encourage employees who are at-risk for swine flu to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. First in line are pregnant women, health care workers and younger adults with conditions such as asthma.
The government is trying to prepare for the possibility of a widespread outbreak this fall, which could hurt businesses along with the broader economy by keeping workers home. Unlike regular seasonal flu, the H1N1 virus which causes swine flu has not retreated during the hot and humid summer months, and so far has infected more than 1 million Americans.
Locke briefed reporters on recommendations for U.S. businesses at a press conference alongside Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
From the North County Times in California, on ICE Assistant Secretary Morton's visit to San Diego yesterday:
A top-level official with the Department of Homeland Security said in San Diego on Wednesday that the agency would more strictly focus its enforcement efforts on arresting illegal immigrants with criminal histories.
In recent years, the agency has been criticized by immigrant rights activists for using raids ostensibly aimed at targeted individuals who were a threat to national security or community safety, but also arresting illegal immigrants nearby, known as collateral arrests.
John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was in San Diego on Wednesday, said that the agency would more tightly focus the program on criminal immigrants but would not give a "free pass" to those who have been ordered to leave the country by an immigration judge.
"If we're going to have any kind of system that works and has credibility, there's got to be enforcement," Morton said.
2:30 PM Local
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will testify before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security about the Coast Guard’s Arctic Presence
University of Alaska Anchorage
Consortium Library Lew Haines Memorial Room (Room 307)
3211 Providence Drive