Flu Outbreak, More WGN Sickos Than Usual

424042_553027544709783_1729291520_nI work with a bunch of sickos. Luckily, they’re using their sick days. The flu outbreak has not spared WGN News. It’s hard to keep track of who’s working and who’s not. And that seems to be the situation in newsrooms all over town and just about every workplace and school in the past few weeks.

Sports anchor Pat Tomasulo has been out for over a week. Meteorologist Paul Konrad and Entertainment reporter Dean Richards were back on Friday. But neither of them sounded like they were 100% healthy. Paul was out again today. Those are just a few of the on air sickos. There are even more behind the scenes. Keeping our newsroom staffed is surely a challenge for WGN managers these days.

IMG_7893I got a flu shot for the first time a few weeks ago. But I am still worried since this season has been so severe. Also because there are people coughing and blowing their noses everywhere you turn. The super-sized hand sanitizer on a counter at our assignment desk is not a a solid line of defense. Neither are the hand warmers and foot warmers I bought by the case ahead of winter. Although those will be helpful during this week’s deep freeze.

I wonder how many employees will need more than their allotted number of sick days this year. We’re not even through January yet. The dilemma is probably why some are reluctant to take a sick day even if they are exhibiting cold and flu symptoms. It’s hard to know where, when and if you might run into the virus. I am always on guard while out covering stories or attending events.

Fortunately, Chicago and state health officials say the number of people needing hospitalization due to influenza is now on the decline. But we shouldn’t let our guards down. Pass the hand sanitizer. But be sure to sanitize the bottle and dispensing top before and after each use. And as one co-worker advised when near feature reporter Ana Belaval, “Don’t even breathe on the pregnant lady!”

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