The Sullivan County Legislature unanimously approved Public Health Order No. 1 of 2019, empowering the County’s Department of Public Health Services to require full measles immunization for staff members and campers at summer camps in the County.
The Order was created in the wake of the downstate measles outbreak and applies to all camps regulated by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH).
“We are taking a proactive approach, even though we’ve only had two measles cases thus far,” said Nadia Rajsz, chair of the Legislature’s Health & Family Services Committee. “This is another step of many we’ve taken to ensure our residents and visitors enjoy the summer while staying protected from this contagious disease.”
“This Order, effective through September 15, mandates that camp health directors verify all their campers and staffers have presented appropriate evidence of immunity to measles, or have presented proof of a valid medical exemption,” explained Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “It also requires the camp operator to screen campers and staff members for measles upon arrival to camp, and to find out from parents/guardians of campers whether each camper has had any possible exposure to measles within the last three weeks.”
Camp operators are prohibited from allowing campers or staffer to attend camp if they fail to meet these requirements. In addition, if a measles case presents itself during the camp season, the operator or health director must immediately inform Public Health Services.
Records must be maintained and both Public Health Services and NYSDOH have the authority to review that documentation upon demand. Violations of these regulations could result in a $2,000 fine per violation per day to be levied on the camp.
“In close collaboration with the State, we are taking every possible action to avoid a measles outbreak in Sullivan County in the coming months,” noted Health & Family Services Commissioner Joe Todora. “This is the latest in a long line of measures we’ve taken, and we’ve found camp leaders eager to comply. This Order allows us to responsibly ensure enforcement, [in order] to minimize the further spread of measles.”