The New York State Department of Health announced that influenza is prevalent in the state on Wednesday.
Officials say health care workers who are not vaccinated against influenza are now required to wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza, and is especially important for healthcare workers,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Health care personnel are routinely exposed to sick patients and come in close contact with patients who are most vulnerable to influenza, such as the elderly. I encourage all New Yorkers over six months of age to get their influenza shot as soon as possible.”
So far this influenza season, health officials say New York has 1,820 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in 54 counties and all boroughs of New York City. There have been 612 influenza-related hospitalizations reported. There have no reports of pediatric deaths from influenza.
Officials say over the last three seasons, there have been 19 pediatric influenza deaths in New York and an average of 11,183 influenza-related hospitalizations each season.
Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death. Influenza season occurs primarily from October through May, often peaking in February. Officials say it is not too late to get vaccinated, and there are ample amounts of the vaccine available. The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended this year.
For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit the Department of Health’s website.