New York’s Rockland County is going to extremes to combat its measles problem: The populous county near New York City is set to declare a state of emergency and bar minors who have not been vaccinated for the disease from public spaces beginning Wednesday.
The ban will last for 30 days, or until the minor is vaccinated for measles.
County Executive Ed Day plans to announce the state of emergency Tuesday afternoon, to take effect at midnight.
More than 300,000 people live in Rockland County, which has reported 153 cases of measles since last October, according to The New York Times. The county reported nearly 50 of those cases in 2019.
According to county data, the vast majority of people recently treated for the measles had not received the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Minors, some less than a year old, made up about 85 percent of those treated for measles.
Although the U.S. eliminated measles in 2000, there’s been a recent spike in cases nationwide. Generally, outbreaks have been cropping up in pockets where there are larger-than-average proportions of unvaccinated people.
Measles, an extremely contagious virus, can cause a dangerously high fever, rash and respiratory problems.
Officials in several states are working to close loopholes that allow parents to avoid vaccinating their children for religious or philosophical reasons.