Rockland Issues New ‘Exclusion’ Order To Prevent Spread Of Measles

April 16, 2019 - 1:23 pm

NEW CITY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Rockland County officials announced Tuesday a new order mandating anyone with measles in the area be quarantined to their homes.

County Executive Ed Day and Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced the “Communicable Disease and Exposure Exclusion Order,” requiring anyone with measles to stay home and those exposed to stay out of public spaces throughout the county.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Day’s initial emergency measles order was challenged, and lost, in court.

Some residents in the area feel the orders are overreaching and add that the measles outbreak is not a true emergency because there has not been any reported deaths – something Day takes offense to.

“To be told that we should wait for someone to die because of this disease is absolutely beyond belief,” Day said.

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The county announced Tuesday that there have been 186 confirmed measles cases since the outbreak began in October 2018. Ruppert notes that she is sure there have been more cases that the county cannot verify.

She is still looking to ban unvaccinated children from any public place and says she gets lists from schools in the area every week to “identify students who have been excluded from the school or day care, according to this order.

Those who do not comply face a $2,000-a-day fine.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous and wouldn’t say if her children were vaccinated, said she’s unsure how she feels about the order and claims the government never examined the safety of vaccines.

Related: Rockland Plans To Fight Judge’s Decision To Block Measles Emergency Order

“Robert Kennedy just won a lawsuit that the government, the (Department of Health and Human Services), admitted that they never did any studies in 30 years. I’m very concerned about that,” she said.

She said she doesn’t know how safe vaccines are.

Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder, who is Hasidic, is one community leader urging vaccinations.

He said, "More collaboration in each direction with local commuities would be very helpful."

He does think the message is sinking in.

"Rabbis, community leaders have signed proclamations and urged people to take the vaccination and take this very seriously.," Wieder said.

Measles is a highly-contagious, airborne virus that easily spreads through coughing and sneezing. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on surfaces. It causes fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, followed by a rash. The disease can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain.

Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000 because of high vaccination rates, but a rise in “anti-vaxxers” – who claim the MMR vaccine is linked to autism – has caused the disease to once again spread.

Day and Ruppert both note that vaccination rates are on the rise once again in Rockland County.