The Sullivan County Legislature today unanimously approved Public Health Order No. 1 of 2019, which empowers the County’s Department of Public Health Services to require full measles immunization for staff members and campers at summer camps in the County.
The Order, was created in the wake of the downstate measles outbreak and applies to all camps regulated by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH).
“We are taking a proactive approach, even though we’ve only had two measles cases thus far,” said District 2 Legislator Nadia Rajsz, chair of the Legislature’s Health & Family Services Committee. “This is another step of many we’ve taken to ensure our residents and visitors enjoy the summer while staying protected from this contagious disease.”
“This Order, effective through September 15, mandates that camp health directors verify all their campers and staffers have presented appropriate evidence of immunity to measles, or have presented proof of a valid medical exemption,” explained Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “It also requires the camp operator to screen campers and staff members for measles upon arrival to camp, and to find out from parents/guardians of campers whether each camper has had any possible exposure to measles within the last three weeks.”
Should these requirements not be met, the camp operator must not permit the camper or staffer to attend camp. And if a measles case presents itself during the course of the camp’s season, the operator or health director must immediately inform Public Health Services.
Records must be maintained, as well, and both Public Health Services and NYSDOH have the authority to review that documentation upon demand. Should violations be found, a $2,000 fine per violation per day can be levied upon the camp.
“In close collaboration with the State, we are taking every possible action to avoid a measles outbreak in Sullivan County in the coming months,” noted Health & Family Services Commissioner Joe Todora. “This is the latest in a long line of measures we’ve taken, and we’ve found camp leaders eager to comply. This Order allows us to responsibly ensure enforcement, so as to minimize the further spread of measles.”