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Influenza Declared No Longer Prevalent in the State

(May 13, 2024) Influenza cases and hospitalizations recently have been at low levels compared to peak activity in late December 2023. On May 8, 2024, NYS Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner James McDonald, MD, MPH, declared that influenza is no longer prevalent for the 2023-24 influenza season, as of the date of the announcement. Thus, the requirement that certain personnel unvaccinated for the current influenza season wear a surgical or procedure mask while in areas where patients or residents may be present is no longer in effect. This requirement will not be in effect until the Commissioner declares influenza prevalent again.

This “flu mask” regulation pertains to hospitals, nursing homes, home care, hospice, diagnostic and treatment centers, and adult day health care (ADHC) providers. The regulation does NOT apply to assisted living and adult care facilities (ACFs), except for home care staff working in the Assisted Living Program (ALP).

Members who are held to this regulation must also submit the Healthcare Personnel (HCP) Influenza Vaccination Report, due Fri., June 28th.

Nursing homes are also reminded that in addition to the state requirements, they are required to file an annual report on HCP influenza vaccination rates by May 15th through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). More information on this requirement is available here.

Additional information regarding the regulation, Frequently Asked Questions, and other resources can be found here. Questions may be directed to FluMaskReg@health.ny.gov.

Contact: Carrie Mosley, cmosley@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 147