ALBANY, NY – New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency amid evidence of circulating poliovirus, a move that will increase the availability of resources including expanding the network of polio vaccine administrators, state health officials said.
Sequence analysis of wastewater surveillance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found poliovirus samples in Nassau County, bringing the total to 5 counties — Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County, New York City, and now, Nassau County.
The August sample from Nassau County on Long Island has been genetically linked to the case identified in Rockland county — showing further evidence of expanding community spread.
All samples are “samples of concern,” — essentially, types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis in humans.
“Bolstering the immunization drive, the E.O. (executive order) immediately expands the network of polio vaccine administrators with the addition of EMS workers, midwives, and pharmacists and authorizes physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific standing orders for polio vaccines,” the release from DHS said.
The executive order also requires health care providers to give polio immunization data to the state health department to help focus vaccination efforts where they are most needed.
“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, warning of the risk of the paralytic disease among those unvaccinated.
“Do not wait to vaccinate,” she urged.