ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah has declared the flu now prevalent in the state, requiring hospitals and other state-regulated health facilities to ensure their personnel have either had this season's influenza vaccine or else wear masks where patients may be present.
The rule includes more than 4,000 hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide. It applies to doctors, nurses, students, volunteers, contractors and even some cafeteria workers.
Shah says it's not too late for vaccinations and notes confirmed cases in more than 45 counties and all five of New York City's boroughs.
The state recorded 45,352 confirmed cases and 9,537 patients hospitalized with influenza last season. It was considered widespread for 22 weeks and cited in 14 pediatric deaths.