What to Know
- Rockland County declared a countywide State of Emergency relating to the ongoing measles outbreak Tuesday
- A ban went into effect at midnight, Wednesday, barring any unvaccinated minor from public places for 30 days or they are vaccinated
- As of Wednesday, there are 155 confirmed reported cases of measles in the county, according to Rockland County
Confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County rose to 155 on Wednesday, hours after the county declared a state of emergency and banned children who are unvaccinated against the measles from public places.
A local outbreak of the measles entered its 26th week this week — the longest since the disease was eradicated in the United States in 2000, according to officials in the New York.
The ban went into effect at midnight, Wednesday, barring anyone younger than 18 who is unvaccinated against the measles from public places until they receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The ban expires in 30 days. On Tuesday, recorded cases of measles in the area was 153.
The Department of Health was hosting free MMR vaccination clinics Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. -- one in Pomona and another in Spring Valley. News 4 witnessed a number of people showing up to local Rockland County clinics to get the MMR vaccine.
Those unable to be vaccinated for documented and confirmed medical reasons are exempt from the declaration.
"We believe this to be the first such effort of this kind nationally and the circumstances we face here clearly call for that," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day at a Tuesday press conference. "Rockland will lead the way in service and safety to the people here.
The outbreak started after seven unvaccinated travelers with measles entered the county in early October, Day said. Rockland County has been grappling with a measles outbreak in recent months affecting residents in Spring Valley, New Square and Monsey. Officials had previously asked students who are unvaccinated not to attend school.
Still, Day said county officials have been met with "pockets of resistance" from people unwilling to comply with health department advice and this played a part in the decision to enact a ban.
Anyone found in violation could face six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, Day said. However, he added that the county is not looking to arrest people, but rather a means to grab the public's attention.