Influenza no longer prevalent in state this season

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, a nurse gives administers a vaccine shot in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

NEW YORK STATE (WIVB) – Influenza is no longer prevalent in New York State, the NYS Commissioner of Health advised Thursday.

That means that New York State healthcare workers who are not vaccinated against the flu are no longer required to wear masks in areas where patients are typically present.

For this flu season, influenza was previously declared prevalent in the state in Dec. 2016.

Flu activity in the state peaked in mid-February, when there were more than 6,000 laboratory-confirmed cases in one week, according to the Health Commissioner’s office. Those numbers have since fallen to below 1,400 in the week ending April 22, 2017.

Flu is considered widespread when there are laboratory-confirmed cases in more than 31 of the 62 counties. Whether the flu is prevalent is a determination made at the discretion of the state Commissioner of Health.

State health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said that although the flu is no longer considered prevalent, residents can still contract the virus.

“If you do get the flu, I urge you to take precautions to prevent it from spreading,” Zucker said. “It’s important we all do our part in preventing the transmission of flu.”

Zucker’s advice is to stay home from work and avoid public places if you have the flu and cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

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