ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Health Officials says influenza is prevalent in the state.
Health care workers who are not vaccinated against influenza must now wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.
“Now that flu is officially prevalent in New York, we need to step up our defenses against this potentially life-threatening illness,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. “Getting a flu vaccine is still the best way to stay healthy during flu season. I encourage all New Yorkers, but especially health care workers, to get a vaccine if they have not done so yet. Those who choose not to get vaccinated will be required by public health law to wear a mask whenever they are near patients.”
Flu season typically runs from October through May, often peaking in February.
Officials say flu activity is now considered to be widespread, with laboratory-confirmed cases in 39 counties and all boroughs of New York City.
So far, there have been 658 flu-related hospitalizations. Officials say there have been no reports of pediatric deaths from flu.
On average New York sees an average of 9,800 flu-related hospitalizations each season.
The New York Department of Health recommends everyone six months and older to get a flu vaccination. Officials say it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit the Department of Health web page at: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.