Gov. Cuomo declares state health emergency for flu season - New York News

Gov. Cuomo declares state health emergency for flu season

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency for New York State because of the severity of the flu season. 

Cuomo made the announcement Saturday and issued an executive order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age. This order suspends for the next 30 days the section of state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents only to individuals 18 years of age or older.

"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," Governor Cuomo said. "Therefore, I have directed my administration, the State Health Department and others 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." 

There are confirmed cases of flu virus, now in every county of New York state, and all five boroughs of the city. 

"First my husband got it, then my youngest daughter got it and then I got it."  

Michelle Birnbaum, one of more than 19,000 New Yorkers infected with influenza this season.  

"I felt really run down, very congested. It wouldn't stop. I felt very tired, everyone had a temperature," said Birnbaum. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of Emergency order allows pharmacies to give people between six months and 18 years of age the flu vaccine.  

But finding a shot isn't easy -- just ask Pablos Jaes. 

I've been calling a number of local pharmacies and they seem to have run out," said Jaes. 

"We are running low." 

Dr. Hong Choi at City MD Urgent Care says the office will get more this weekend. In the meantime, he warns the virus can spread just about anywhere -- on public transportation surfaces like ATM's -- even the handle at the gas pump. 

"All this leads to higher viral transmission rate. It's easy enough to get it from surfaces people have coughed on or touched after coughing in their hands. So really the best preventive measure at any time is to perform good hand hygiene," said Dr. Choi. 

In all, 47 states are now reporting widespread flu activity. The major virus spreading this season is known as H3N2 -- a stronger than normal strain leading health officials everywhere to say if you can find a shot -- get it. 

"We are really approaching endemic numbers in the New York City area and there is no reason to leave yourself vulnerable without a vaccine," said Choi.

It takes about two weeks after you get a flu shot for full protection. When it does, current research shows it is about 60 percent effective against the flu virus.

The state has set up a website to help New Yorkers find locations to get a shot -- you can find a local vaccine provider by visiting flushot.healthmap.org and entering their zip code. New Yorkers without internet access can call 1-800-522-5006 or through TTY access at 1-800-655-1789 to find a nearby provider.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • New York gives tuition break to veterans

    New York gives tuition break to veterans

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:44:17 GMT
    Education NewsEducation News
    New York is encouraging veterans to go back to school and making it easier for the families of service members who relocate to the state. A new state law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday will give veterans in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities even if they wouldn't otherwise qualify.
    New York is encouraging veterans to go back to school and making it easier for the families of service members who relocate to the state. A new state law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday will give veterans in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities even if they wouldn't otherwise qualify.
  • Thrift shops warned about drawstring kids' clothes

    Thrift shops warned about drawstring kids' clothes

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:06 AM EDT2014-08-19 12:06:38 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    New York's attorney general has told 46 thrift shops to stop selling children's garments with drawstrings, clothing prohibited in New York since 2003. The letters follow a survey showing many thrift shops continued selling clothes considered a safety hazard because drawstrings can snag on cribs playground equipment and vehicle doors.
    New York's attorney general has told 46 thrift shops to stop selling children's garments with drawstrings, clothing prohibited in New York since 2003. The letters follow a survey showing many thrift shops continued selling clothes considered a safety hazard because drawstrings can snag on cribs playground equipment and vehicle doors.

  • Robbery at Westchester mall

    Robbery at Westchester mall

    Monday, August 18 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-08-18 09:50:19 GMT
    A brazen robbery at one of the tri-state area's ritziest malls took place in front of dozens of shocked shoppers on Sunday. It all happened at The Westchester in White Plains. Three men entered the store, broke the cases with hammers, and grabbed luxury timepieces before running from an armed security guard.
    A brazen robbery at one of the tri-state area's ritziest malls took place in front of dozens of shocked shoppers on Sunday. It all happened at The Westchester in White Plains. Three men entered the store, broke the cases with hammers, and grabbed luxury timepieces before running from an armed security guard.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:37:52 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
  • Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Christie talks casinos, Springsteen at town hall

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:49:34 GMT
    Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyGov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
    Gov. Chris Christie talked Atlantic City casinos and defended his use of Bruce Springsteen music in the latest installment of his summer "No Pain, No Gain" town hall series on Tuesday. Many previous events have featured protests by retirees and labor groups as well as Atlantic City casino workers urging Christie to do more to save their jobs following a series of announced closures.
  • Foley wins Connecticut Independent Party backing

    Foley wins Connecticut Independent Party backing

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:35:03 GMT
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut, securing a second spot on the November ballot. Foley's campaign confirmed the Greenwich businessman won the third party's endorsement at Tuesday night's party caucus.
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut, securing a second spot on the November ballot. Foley's campaign confirmed the Greenwich businessman won the third party's endorsement at Tuesday night's party caucus.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices