New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah on Thursday declared the flu now prevalent in the state, including confirmed cases in all five of New York City’s boroughs and more than 45 of the state’s 62 counties.
The declaration requires hospitals and other state-regulated health facilities to ensure their personnel have either had this season’s influenza vaccine or else wear masks where patients may be present. The rule includes more than 4,000 hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide. It applies to doctors, nurses, students, volunteers, contractors and even some cafeteria workers.
Last season, New York state recorded 45,352 confirmed cases and 9,537 patients hospitalized with influenza. It was considered widespread for 22 weeks and cited in 14 pediatric deaths.