Giavanni Alves at the Staten Island Advance:
Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday, following increased detections of the polio virus in New York.
The virus has been found in wastewater samples in New York City and Nassau, Orange, Rockland and Sullivan Counties.
Most recently, a sequence analysis of a sample collected from Nassau County in August was genetically linked to the first confirmed case of paralytic polio in New York, which was identified in an unvaccinated individual in Rockland County in July.
The New York State Health Department (NYSDOH) said all of the samples are cause for concern, as they reflect an expanding community spread.
Hochul’s executive order allows the state to immediately expand its network of polio vaccine administrators, affording more resources to local health departments and ramping up polio vaccinations.
The State Health Department’s goal is to increase the statewide polio vaccination rate from its current approximate 79% to 90%.
“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” NYSDOH Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”