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DOH Commissioner Declares Influenza Prevalent

On Dec. 20, 2018, Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declared influenza to be prevalent in New York State. This declaration triggers the requirement that all personnel, as defined in the regulation, not vaccinated against influenza for the current influenza season wear a surgical or procedure mask while in areas where patients or residents are typically present. This requirement applies to a variety of settings, including nursing homes, adult day health care programs, hospices, and home care agencies. The requirement also applies to staff of assisted living programs' (ALPs) home care agencies.

This declaration shall remain in effect until the Commissioner declares influenza to be no longer prevalent in the state. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the regulation and other resources are available here. For more information, please direct questions to FluMaskReg@health.ny.gov.

With flu season upon us, it is important to educate staff, residents, and patients on the importance of getting a flu vaccine. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides even more evidence of the benefits of the flu vaccination among older adults.

DOH has extensive information on the flu vaccine available on its website. Posters can be ordered from the CDC and DOH. We hope these resources will assist you in informing your community for the benefit of the elderly population you serve.

Contact: Dawn Carter, dcarter@leadingageny.org, 518-859-1695