Cuomo urges vaccination as flu cases increase across state

Posted 2 February 2018 at 8:00 am

Press Release, Governor Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said the influenza epidemic continued to increase across New York State over the past week, with 11,683 laboratory confirmed influenza cases reported to the New York State Department of Health, and 2,221 New Yorkers hospitalized with confirmed influenza.

These numbers are again the highest weekly numbers in both categories since reporting began in 2004 and exceed last week’s record high 7,779 confirmed cases and 1,759 hospitalizations.

“Flu season is in full-swing, and as the number of influenza cases and hospitalizations continue to rise at alarming levels, we must take every action to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Cuomo said. “I am urging everyone to get vaccinated and take other necessary steps to stop the spread of this virus in New York.”

Last week, the Governor signed an Executive Order allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18, increasing vaccine accessibility for New York children and families as influenza continues to spread across New York.

The Executive Order suspends the section of state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents to anyone under age 18 to allow vaccines to be administered to anyone age 2 and up. Parents and guardians are encouraged to call pharmacies ahead of their visit, to ensure they are ready to receive patients in this age group. Parents and guardians with children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months are still encouraged to see their primary care provider for the vaccination.

In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it’s important to practice good hand-hygiene:

• Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.

• Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.

• Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.

• Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. People with the flu are infectious for up to 7 days after symptoms begin.

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