May 28, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
Four new cases of measles were reported in Sunset Park last week, bringing the citywide total up to 535 since October.
While the new cases in Sunset Park are a source of concern, the Department of Health said its focus continues to be on Williamsburg, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“Given the high vaccination rates in Sunset Park, we do not foresee sustained transmission in this neighborhood,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “However, measles is extremely contagious, and I strongly urge unvaccinated New Yorkers to immediately get the vaccine.”
While Sunset Park now has 12 confirmed cases overall, 78 percent of cases citywide have been confined to five zip codes in the Williamsburg area where there is a large Orthodox Jewish community.
The number of cases has grown rapidly since October, resulting in 40 hospitalizations and 11 admissions to the ICU due to complications from the infection.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an emergency order on April 9, requiring all people over the age of six months who live or work in the identified Williamsburg zip codes to be vaccinated. As of May 23, 12,238 Williamsburg residents have received a vaccine, which is 6,298 more vaccines than were given out the previous year.
Eight schools in Brooklyn and one in Flushing, Queens were temporarily closed down for failing to comply with an Order of the Commissioner to not allow any unvaccinated children to attend school for 21 days after a known measles exposure at the school.
The Department of Health is continuing to distribute educational material to the city’s residents, and has issued 122 summonses to individuals for not complying with the emergency order, each carrying a penalty of $1,000 which can rise to $2,000 if the individual does not appear at the hearing for the summons.
They always create problems.