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New York health care workers who aren't vaccinated against the flu are now required to wear masks in areas where patients are typically present

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ALBANY, New York — New York's health commissioner has declared influenza prevalent in the state, requiring health care workers who aren't vaccinated against it to wear masks in areas where patients are typically present.

Dr. Howard Zucker says some workers in medical settings choose not to get shots, which he says provide a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and transmitting it.

Zucker says requiring unvaccinated workers to wear masks around patients helps protect the sick, elderly and other vulnerable people.

According to the state health department, laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in 44 counties and all boroughs of New York City, with 817 flu-related hospitalizations so far this season and no reports of related pediatric deaths.

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