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Sunday, November 23, 2014
Rockville Centre hospitals see influenza spike

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency for all of New York on Saturday in response to this year’s severe flu season. According to the Center for Disease Control, New York is one of 41 states with widespread influenza activity, though the Rockville Centre hospitals and school district seem prepared to deal with the virus.

According to Dr. Aaron Glatt, the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Mercy Medical Center, the hospital has seen the activity level for the flu that the CDC has described.

“We are doing everything possible to deal with the increased workload, and we have done wonderfully so far,” Glatt, who is also an infectious-disease physician, said. “We have a very active influenza campaign in the hospital to try and make sure all of our employees can get vaccinated and any patients who wish to get vaccinated.”

Glatt said that the severity of the virus fluctuates year by year, though the CDC says that the average number of deaths as a result of the flu is 36,000 a year. He also said that the strain that is spreading throughout the country is actually well matched with the vaccine available.

“People who got the vaccine are more likely not to get the flu, or get a less intense version, but the vaccine is not perfect,” Glatt said. “We’re very equipped to handle and see patients in our express care and we’re more than happy to help the residents of the community.”

According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, the governor issued an executive order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between the ages of six months and 18 years, suspending for thirty days a State Education law that limits immunization by pharmacists to those older than 18.

There have been 19,128 cases of influenza reported in New York this season, more than quadruple the total cases reported in 2011-12. The New York State Department of Health has received reports of 2,884 patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, more than double the reported hospitalizations of last year.

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