New York Declares State Of Emergency – Polio
The Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that she is declaring a state of emergency in New York over its ongoing polio outbreak.
Hochul issued an executive order Friday declaring a State Disaster Emergency, which will allow the state to mobilize additional resources and reduce red tape in its response to the outbreak. Thus far there has only been one case of polio identified in the state, but wastewater surveillance indicates the virus is circulating among a significant swathe of the population.
The declaration will allow EMS workers, midwives, and pharmacists to administer polio vaccines. All vaccination data will also now be reported to the state department of health.
Hochul indicated that certain people should get a polio booster, including those in close contact with confirmed or suspected cases and those exposed to wastewater as part of their occupation.
“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”
The first case identified in the state was in an unvaccinated Rockland County man who later became paralyzed. The injected polio vaccine prevents paralysis, although a mild form of the virus may still circulate among the vaccinated.
Experts are concerned that further spread of the virus could result in it evolving into a more dangerous form. That process typically takes about a year, doctors say.