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Governor urges vaccine to fight drastic rise of flu across state

Posted 19 January 2018 at 9:05 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is calling on all New Yorkers six months of age and over who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the Department of Health, cases of influenza rose by 54 percent and new cases were diagnosed in all counties of the state over the past week. In addition, 1,606 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, the highest weekly number since Department of Health reporting began in 2004.

“With flu cases on the rise, New Yorkers should take steps to get vaccinated and protect themselves and their loved ones,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am directing the Department of Health to work with local providers to help protect our communities from this flu outbreak, and I urge all New Yorkers to visit local health centers and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

For the last six weeks, influenza has been geographically widespread across New York. As of January 13th, 17,362 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been reported and 5,267 people have been hospitalized with influenza in New York State this season.

“Influenza is a potentially deadly disease, and getting vaccinated is the best thing New Yorkers can do to protect themselves and those around them, followed by good hand hygiene,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “To address the high number of cases we’re seeing across the state, Governor Cuomo has directed the Department of Health to work with healthcare associations to take action against the flu and coordinate on issues of hospital capacity and surge planning. I urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated immediately.”

In addition to calling on all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Health to take the following actions:

• Continue surveillance of hospitals statewide on bed capacity and supply of vaccines and antiviral medications;

• Coordinate with Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, and the Community Health Care Association of New York State to support hospitals on capacity issues and encourage them to review their surge plans to expand capacity;

• Ensure that New York continues to have an adequate supply of flu vaccine and remaining in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding vaccine availability. CDC is currently reporting adequate supplies of flu vaccine nationwide; and

• Promote the usage of HealthMap Vaccine Finder, developed by Google and supported by the CDC, a free and helpful online service that allows users to search for locations offering immunizations. To find a flu vaccine near you, please visit: www.vaccinefinder.org.

To receive a flu shot, contact your local health care provider or pharmacy, or find information about vaccination clinics by contacting your local health department.

In addition to getting a flu shot, 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.

For more information about the flu, click here.

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