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Healthcare workers who haven’t received flu vaccine will need to wear a mask

In response to a significant increase in flu cases, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald has declared the flu as prevalent in the state.


This declaration enforces a mask requirement for unvaccinated healthcare workers in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centers, and home care agencies.

The directive is a precautionary measure to protect both healthcare personnel and patients, particularly those who are most vulnerable to flu complications.

The decision follows a notable rise in lab-confirmed flu cases across New York State. In areas outside New York City, cases have escalated by 34%, jumping from 1,487 to 1,993 in a week.


Dr. McDonald emphasizes the importance of vaccination against the flu, stating, “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot as it is the best way to protect yourself and will lessen the symptoms if you do get sick.”

In addition to the mask mandate, the state is promoting the flu vaccine as the most effective prevention method. The vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older, with a high-dose flu shot advised for those 65 years and older.

Those at heightened risk of hospitalization from the flu include older adults, individuals with chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women.

To treat the flu, healthcare providers can prescribe antiviral medications like Tamiflu, which can lessen the duration and severity of the illness. With reported shortages in some areas, the federal government has authorized New York State to access the Strategic National Stockpile for additional supplies of Tamiflu. This proactive approach underscores the state’s commitment to mitigating the spread of the flu and ensuring the health and safety of its residents.