Stock up on the Kleenex. New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has declared influenza is now prevalent across the state.
With that comes the regulation that healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated against the flu must wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are present.
The Regulation for Prevention of Influenza Transmission first went into effect during the 2013-2014 flu season, being activated when the health commissioner declares the flu to be prevalent, usually during the period October to May.
So far this season, there have been 691 flu-related hospitalizations in New York and one flu-related pediatric death. Over the past three seasons, 20 pediatric flu fatalities have been recorded, with an average of over 18,000 flu-related hospitalizations each season.
The Department of Health reminds residents that it is not too late to get the influenza vaccine this year.