New York county takes 'extremely unusual' step to ban unvaccinated minors from public places amid measles outbreak

Unvaccinated people under the age of 18 are banned from public places in Rockland County, New York, according to John Lyon, director of strategic communications for County Executive Ed Day. The declaration is an effort to contain an outbreak of measles that began in October; 153 cases have been confirmed in the county.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 7:43 AM


Unvaccinated people under age 18 are banned from public places in Rockland County, New York, as of midnight Wednesday, according to John Lyon, director of strategic communications for County Executive Ed Day.

Day announced the order Tuesday.

The declaration is an effort to contain an outbreak of measles that began in October; 153 cases have been confirmed in the county.

The outbreak began when an unvaccinated resident became infected while visiting Israel and returned with the disease. It has mostly affected observant Jewish neighborhoods.

New York City has reported 214 cases as of Wednesday from the outbreak, also in Orthodox Jewish communities, according to the city department of health.

"We're not punishing the people who are doing the right thing already and following the rules. We just want to encourage everyone to do the right thing so we can stop this outbreak," Rockland County's Lyon said. The step is "extremely unusual. [We] don't believe it's been done anywhere in the country before."

"State law gives health departments authority to broadly implement control measures in response to outbreaks," Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in an email, noting that the CDC provides technical assistance to state and local health departments.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that is prevented with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The CDC recommends that the two-dose vaccine be given first at 12 to 15 months of age and then between ages 4 and 6.

This is the 26th week -- the sixth month -- of the outbreak in Rockland County, according to Lyon, who said it has been the longest outbreak in the United States since before measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Day said the outbreak will not go on indefinitely. "This is a public health crisis, and it is time to sound the alarm, to ensure that everyone takes proper action to protect themselves and their neighbors; for the health and safety of all of us in Rockland," he said in a news release.

Public places include synagogues, churches, schools, restaurants, stores and public buses. "Public places are defined as: a place where more than 10 persons are intended to congregate," the news release says.

Children who are current with the vaccine schedule but not fully vaccinated against measles because they are not old enough are exempt from the order.

The order does not apply to people who are older than 18 because "we did not want to prevent anyone from going to work," but unvaccinated adults are also encouraged to get vaccinated.

It will be enforced the same way any law is enforced, according to Lyon: During the investigation into when and where an infected individual was exposed, those who are identified as unvaccinated and people in public places will be referred to the district attorney's office.

"The goal is not to prosecute people. We don't want to fine people. We want to encourage people to get vaccinated," he said.

In cases that are referred to the district attorney, Day said the penalty is six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

"Just to be clear, this is not something we're looking to do. The emergency declaration, by law, comes with that assigned. It's the lowest crime there is." He admitted that police officers will not be walking around asking parents for proof of vaccination for their children. He also said this is just to draw attention to make people understand the seriousness of the situation.

Nearly 17,000 vaccinations have been administered in the county during the outbreak.

"As this outbreak has continued, our inspectors have begun to meet resistance from those they are trying to protect. They have been hung up on or told not to call again. They've been told 'we're not discussing this; do not come back' when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations. This type of response is unacceptable and irresponsible. It endangers the health and well-being of others and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community," Day said.

The outbreak has mainly been isolated in a couple of communities within Rockland County, which is just north of New York City, but the whole community is at risk, he said, noting that there have been complications among patients, including a premature labor and a handful of hospitalizations.

"Every new confirmed case is a roll of the dice that we'll see more complications. There's a lot that can go wrong with any case."

Statewide, there have been at least 378 cases of measles reported since October.

The CDC has reported 314 cases of measles nationwide this year as of Monday. That number reflects cases reported by state health departments as of Thursday but not cases reported since then.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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