Two more schools closed for violating measles order
by Benjamin Fang
May 14, 2019 | 6973 views | 0 0 comments | 801 801 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has closed two more schools for not following the commissioner’s order during the measles outbreak, the agency announced.

On May 9, officials shut down the Yeshiva of Central Queens, located at 147-37 70th Road in Kew Gardens Hills, for not excluding unvaccinated students 21 days after a known exposure at the school.

Last week, Simche Kinder, a school with 77 students at 812 Myrtle Avenue in Williamsburg, was also served closure orders for “repeatedly failing to comply” with the order.

Health Department officials say the sites will not be allowed to reopen until staff can demonstrate to the agency that they can comply. They will have to submit an approved corrective action plan that addresses the lapses in compliance.

Until then, the department is working with parents to find alternative care for students who attend the programs.

In total, eight schools were previously closed by the city for non-compliance. Ninety-eight individuals have been slapped with summonses as well.

The Health Department also announced on Monday that the measles outbreak has extended to 498 confirmed cases. Eighty percent of them have occurred within Williamsburg.

Since the outbreak began in October, there have been at least 34 hospitalizations and nine admissions to the ICU due to complications.

“Right now, we still see a highly localized outbreak in the Williamsburg community,” Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in a statement, “even though there have been sporadic infections outside of the neighborhood.

On May 7, health officials identified three additional cases outside of Williamsburg and Borough Park. They occurred in Sunset Park with individuals who do not identify as members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Two of the cases are students who attend public schools. Both of them had a religious exemption that allowed them to attend school without being vaccinated. They were not in school while infectious, health officials said.

Barbot said one reason they have not seen secondary infections outside Sunset Park is because so many people are already vaccinated.

“We want to urge people to remain calm,” she said. “The best way to protect yourself, as well as family, friends, neighbors and fellow New Yorkers, is to make sure that you are immune from measles if you have not already done so.”

The Health Department will continue to audit schools to ensure they have “comprehensive attendance and immunization records,” officials said.

“This is the time to act,” said Deputy Commissioner Demetre Daskalakis. “If you don’t know if you have been vaccinated and you live, work, study or play in areas with measles activity, get vaccinated. It is safe and effective.”
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