The implementation of a state of emergency is "no longer necessary" when battling polio in New York City and other surrounding counties, after it unexpectedly reappeared in the metropolitan area earlier this year, the New York Department of Health said Monday.
The emergency order prompted New York to loosen its rules on which entities could give out polio vaccines. However, since approximately 50,000 doses of the polio vaccine have been administered, and fewer samples of polio have been detected in wastewater, the order is no longer needed.
"We have made progress — but the work to increase immunization rates and protect children from paralytic disease and other vaccine-preventable illnesses is ongoing," Dr. Mary Bassett, the outgoing Health Commissioner, said Monday.
The state of emergency was originally declared in September by Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, and it expired Dec. 8 after the polio virus had been discovered in New York City, along with Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Nassau counties.
"With the number of positive wastewater samples declining over time, the emergency order was no longer necessary," a state press release also read.
Bassett warned Monday the virus could still spread through contact with feces or droplets from infected people, saying "the work to increase immunization rates and protect children from paralytic disease and other vaccine-preventable illnesses is ongoing. We are unwavering in our commitment to keep up efforts to build out long-term vaccination strategies."
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