Stay home when you’re sick or have symptoms this flu season

We’re heading back indoors, children are back in schools, and sure enough, the cold and flu season has arrived. At the same time, COVID-19 remains with us, and as we spend more time indoors, we could expect to see the number of COVID illnesses rise again. Please do what you can to prevent the spread of illness in our workplaces and community.

If you get sick, please follow your agency’s sick leave request and approval protocols and stay home. We value your work here, but it won’t help anyone if you spread your illness to your co-workers.

COVID-19 and the flu virus will both likely be spreading this fall and winter. You may think you have the flu, but actually have COVID-19— or vice versa. Anyone who has symptoms of the flu or COVID-19 should avoid contact with others and test for COVID-19 immediately. This can help prevent you from accidentally spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

If you have the flu, it’s important to stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. If you have symptoms of COVID or test positive, follow this guidance: Isolation and quarantine – King County.

Get vaccinated for flu and an updated COVID-19 booster

Even if you’re young and healthy, both the flu and COVID-19 can lead to serious complications that require hospitalization. Getting vaccinated not only helps prevent you from getting ill, it also decreases the severity of illness if you do get infected and helps protect those around you who cannot receive the shot because of their age or underlying conditions.

The county makes it free for employees and anyone covered by your benefits to get a flu shot at one of our onsite clinics, or at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. Get it at a worksite clinic or from your health care provider or local pharmacy.

There’s now an updated booster vaccine for COVID-19. It’s important to get the updated booster shot, even if you’ve gotten COVID-19 or had a booster shot previously, to prevent severe illness and long COVID. The coronavirus changes over time and the updated booster targets the Omicron variants that are circulating now, in addition to the original COVID-19 strain.

Everyone 5 years and older is eligible if it has been at least two months since completing the primary series of vaccine or receiving the last booster dose. You can get the updated boosters from your healthcare provider, many pharmacies, and at King County’s vaccination clinic at the Auburn Outlet Collection Mall (appointments and drop-ins welcome) and the Eastgate Public Health Center. Updated boosters are free, and no insurance or proof of citizenship is required. More information about locations and appointments:

Our colleagues at Public Health also have answers to common questions about the updated booster: Should I get an updated booster? We asked an expert. – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER.

If you have questions about sick leave, please talk to your supervisor or HR Manager (employee access only). Thank you for helping to stop germs and stay healthy!