Flu Outbreak Affects Businesses

By: Meg Gatto Email
By: Meg Gatto Email

The health department says the state has seen a recent rash of people getting the flu. With employees calling in sick, this outbreak is affecting local businesses.

Target manager Chris Eschbach says, in recent weeks, he's had several people call in sick with flu-like symptoms, which has left the store trying to find other options in order to be fully staffed.

“If we have a certain team member that we cannot replace, or need to replace, we can go down that list give them a call, and then obviously it's their option whether to come in or not come in," says Eschbach.

Target isn't the only store feeling the effects of the flu. Health department director, Dr. Doug Larsen says he knows people all over the Valley are getting sick and leaving employers struggling.

"Yes, we've had reports from the local hospitals where a couple weeks ago they had five admissions of people diagnosed with the flu," says Larsen. "They're up to 19 this past week."

Target does take preventative measures each year to try to prevent employees from becoming sick.

Eschbach says, "We had a flu clinic in October where we had a nurse come in, outside party come in, and our team members were able to get a discount and come in and get a flu shot. So that’s one of the ways we try to prevent people from getting that during this high season of flu."

Since it's not required, Eschbach says it's inevitable some employees will get sick. However, he maintains that the goal is for Target employees to get the rest they need if they are sick and the store will find a way to cope.

Eschbach insists, "Health is obviously very important to our team members. We want them to come into work and leave the same way."

Larsen encourages all businesses to get employees vaccinated before flu season starts. He says if 85 percent of employees at any size company get vaccinated, the chances of people calling in sick will be minimal.

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