NY health commissioner imposes flu precautions - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Masks required for some hospital workers

NY health commissioner imposes flu precautions

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MYFOXNY.COM/AP -

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah has declared the flu now prevalent in the state, requiring hospitals and other state-regulated health facilities to ensure their personnel have either had this season's influenza vaccine or else wear masks where patients may be present.

The new rule was designed to reduce the chance of health care workers passing along the flu to patients. Many patients have weakened immune systems and may have underlying medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the virus.

"Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against influenza, and it is important for individuals who come in contact with patients to be vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu," Shah said in a statement. "For those who have not been vaccinated, this regulation is intended to provide patients and caregivers an added layer of protection."

The rule actually applies to doctors, nurses, students, volunteers, contractors and even some cafeteria workers in more than 4,000 hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, AIDS home care programs, licensed home care service agencies, limited licensed home care service agencies, and hospices, according the the Health Department.

Shah said the state has confirmed influenza cases in more than 45 counties and all five boroughs of New York City.

He said it is not too late for New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

With the Associated Press.

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