The first case of Ebola virus in the United States was diagnosed earlier this week in Dallas, Texas. The unidentified patient has been admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where he is being quarantined for treatment. This is concerning news because until this point, the current Ebola has been contained to West Africa. Prior to this case, several US aid workers were transported to Atlanta, Georgia, after contracting the deadly virus in Liberia. This instance is different in that the patient was diagnosed with the virus on US soil.
Health officials are confident that they will be able to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading any further. Medical personnel are also working to identify and monitor all people who came in contact with the patient after he displayed symptoms. With an incubation period anywhere from two-21 days, surveillance is key in identifying the virus in patients.
Ebola has claimed at least 3,000 lives with more than 6,500 cases being diagnosed in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The CDC has also cautioned that the number of cases could rise to 1.4 million without global intervention to contain the virus.
All of this information alone is enough to send you into panic mode without even considering the effects a pandemic could have on your business. There are many factors at work when building your pandemic plan, but what is truly important is that you have a plan that you have tested and familiarized employees with.
While pandemics don’t necessarily cause physical damage to property like most threats, they definitely have the ability to stop business operations and ultimately cause the loss of revenue. Effects of a pandemic could range from absenteeism, school closings, transportation difficulties, and telecommunications issues. To provide context, Flu.gov reports 111 million workdays are lost due to flu which equals $7 billion per year in lost productivity. So to say that pandemic planning is important is an understatement.
If you work in the Financial sector, then pandemic planning is more than a priority, it is non-negotiable. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires all banks and credit unions to create and maintain business continuity plans that consider all relevant threats, including pandemic planning.
If you would like to learn more about business continuity and pandemic planning, you can download our Pandemic Planning Toolkit http://www2.preparis.com/pandemics-banks