New York Governor Cuomo declares a ‘Public Health Emergency’ due to harsh flu season
Just three days after Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency for that city because of the flu outbreak, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo did the same for the whole state of New York, according to a Governor’s press release Jan. 12.
New York has already reported nearly 20,000 influenza cases so far this season (19,128). This is over four-times the number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases that were seen during the entire 2011-2012 flu season.
Additionally, as of January 5, 2013, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) received reports of 2,884 patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, compared to 1,169 total hospitalizations in 2011.
In addition to the declaration of a public health emergency, Cuomo also issued an Executive Order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age.
This Order suspends for the next 30 days the section of State Education Law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents only to individuals 18 years of age or older.
So far this season, New York has reported to pediatric influenza-related deaths.
“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City,” Governor Cuomo said. “Therefore, I have directed my Administration, the State Health Department and others to marshal all needed resources to address this public health emergency and remove all barriers to ensure that all New Yorkers – children and adults alike – have access to critically needed flu vaccines.”
New York health officials strongly advise all New Yorkers who have not already received their influenza vaccine to do so immediately, and to encourage all providers to continue to administer the influenza vaccine to their patients.
NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mr. Cuomo made a public display of getting shots this past week, according to a NY Times report.
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