Just moments ago, we learned that Wake County has become the latest host to a victim of the Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus. This follows the news that four elementary school students in New Hanover County have it, along with individual cases in Durham and Orange Counties, among others. North Carolina now has 22 reported cases of the H1N1 virus.
Every time a new H1N1 victim is identified, public health officials are quoted saying the same thing over and over again and Wake County’s interim director of community health, Dr. Elizabeth Tilton, is following along.
Her words? “If you’re sick, stay at home”.
Sure thing. I can do that easily enough because I have paid sick days. But nearly half of North Carolina’s workers don’t have that luxury. They can’t just lose a day’s pay or perhaps risk a job if they’re feeling flu-like symptons.
Legislation in the NC General Assembly that would change that had its first-ever hearing in the House several weeks ago. And now we’re trying to get the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act heard in the Senate.
A lack of paid sick days isn’t causing the swine flu outbreak but giving workers access to a small amount of paid sick days would go a long way in improving public health.
It’s a small ask to have the bill simply heard in a Senate committee; let’s hope it actually happens.