New York's Governor Cuomo has declared a Public Health Emergency on Saturday, 12 January 2013 due to the spread of the flu outbreak across the state. The declaration will make it easier for children to receive flu vaccinations.
In New York, the governor's office said 19,128 cases of influenza have been reported this season, compared with 4,404 positive laboratory tests reported for the entire 2011-2012 season.
"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," Cuomo said on Saturday (http://reut.rs/UUF4Hs).
In the North Country, there have been more than 1000 cases reported in Jefferson and Lewis Counties, and another 250 cases in St. Lawrence County.
“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,” Cuomo said.
He went on to say that he directed state agencies “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.”
With the Public Health Emergency declaration, Cuomo also issued an executive order authorizing health providers to vaccinate children as young as six months old for the next 30 days. Health professionals say the vaccine will prevent about 62% of the people who get it from getting the flu while the rest will have a milder case of it. A vaccine takes two weeks to fully kick in (http://nydn.us/WAsXxm).
If you have not yet received your flu shot, the governor urges you to do so. Take preventive measures to avoid catching and spreading the flu. Wash your hands regularly, cover your coughs and if you're feeling sick, don't go to work where you can spread the virus to your coworkers.