With 47 cases of measles now confirmed in Rockland County, governmental officials are taking steps to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers during Tuesday's highly-anticipated election
With several schools in the affected outbreak area serving as election/polling places, the Board of Elections has been working with the Department of Health to make sure that all election workers are safe.
"We are working closely with the Department of Health regarding the protocol to protect everyone and by making sure that inspectors and poll workers are not at risk and have been immunized," said Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky, a commissioner with the Board of Elections.
Health officials sent a letter to all election workers warning them of the threat of exposure and explained the importance of not working if they have not been immunized.
" As a poll worker for the Board of Elections, I want to make sure you are aware of the current measles outbreak in Rockland County. If you are not immune to measles, you should not be working in the public at this time," stated the letter from Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland's Commissioner of Health.
The 47 cases are presently clustered in New Square, Spring Valley, and Monsey, however, due to Rockland County’s small geographic size, exposure to the measles may occur anywhere in the county, she added.
"As a result, residents who have been asked by a health care provider to “watch for measles,” or who are otherwise ill – including flu-like symptoms, have been advised not to go out in public," the letter states.
Students from the 25 schools affected who haven't been immunized and who may have been exposed have been directed by the county health department to stay home until they receive the immunization, or the incubation period for the disease has passed.
County health officials have also been visiting the affected schools each day to make sure all affected students are not attending school as well as working directly with poll workers to make sure they are informed.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease. Those who are at high risk for complications if they get the measles include children and pregnant women who are not immune, as well as those who are immunosuppressed (when your body can’t fight disease).
Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis (red watery eyes) or a runny nose. People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure.
Free clinics are being held and are open to all Rockland residents.
The next two upcoming clinics:
- Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Yeager Health Center, Building 50, at 50 Sanatorium Road, Pomona
- Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Darden Center, Dr. Berg Lane, Spring Valley
The warning is not only for students and poll workers. All Rockland residents should make sure they are fully immunized.
A person is considered immune if:
- They were born before 1957.
- Have received two doses of the MMR vaccine.
- A physician confirmed that you are immune.
- A physician can confirm measles.
For more questions about measles, call the New York State Department of Health toll-free at 888-364-4837.
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