Albany (WALK) - With flu season just around the corner, New York has declared war.
The State Health Department has a new rule requiring staff at health care facilities to get a flu shot before flu season begins, which is usually around late November. If they opt out, they'll have to wear masks while working with patients.
This regulation applies to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide. It also extends past doctors and nurses to include volunteers, students, cafeteria workers, contractors and anyone who comes in contact with patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The CDC says that over 23,000 people die of the flu each year, with 90% of those deaths occuring among people age 65 and over.
Photo: Daniel Paquet