New York's Rockland County responds to the worsening measles outbreak by declaring a state of emergency, banning unvaccinated children and teenagers from public places.
Rockland Goes Into State Of Emergency
County executive Ed Day declared the state of emergency, which is effective on midnight of Tuesday, March 26. Until the declaration expires in 30 days, anyone under the age of 18 who are not vaccinated is not allowed in public places.
Public places include schools, shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship. Outdoor areas are not included.
The unprecedented move is the culmination of the county's multiple efforts to quell the measles outbreak in the city.
"Parents will be held accountable if they are found to be in violation of the state of emergency and the focus of this effort is on the parents of these children," Day says, according to Lohud. "We are urging them, once again, now with the authority of law, to get your children vaccinated."
Measles Outbreak In Rockland
Measles have been a growing problem in Rockland the past several months. New York Times reports that there have been 153 confirmed cases of measles in the county since October 2018. Forty-eight of these occurred in 2019.
Most of the infections have been concentrated in Rockland's Orthodox-Jewish communities where vaccination rates are lower and anti-vaccination sentiments are widespread.
In a report from Lohud, Day reveals that only 72.9 percent of children under 18 in Rockland are fully vaccinated against measles. Health experts say that herd immunity kicks in at 95 percent.
"We must not allow this outbreak to continue indefinitely or worsen again," Day states. "We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk."
The measles outbreak isn't limited to New York.
As of March 21, there have been 314 cases of measles confirmed in the United States, according to the CDC. Aside from New York, outbreaks, defined as three or more cases, have been reported in California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.