Rockland County pivots on measles plan following court ruling

Posted: Updated:
NEW CITY -

Rockland County officials discussed their new plans on how to deal with the measles outbreak in the county.

Last Friday, a judge decided to lift Rockland's emergency order that banned kids under the age of 18 who were unvaccinated against the virus from being in public places in the county. Some parents challenged the county's emergency order, arguing that it violated their First Amendment right to exercise their freedom of religion.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Rolf Thorsen says that the county's order didn't rise to the level of a disaster required by law.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day says the county will appeal a restraining order placed on the two-week-old state of emergency.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Day, the Rockland County health commissioner and the county attorney said they are going to rework the language that went into the state of emergency so they can continue to protect young people under the age of 18 from being exposed to the measles.

"Our Department of Health is finalizing the criteria for new orders for our commission to keep people who may have been exposed to the measles in their homes and away from public places,” said Day.

It is a pivot from the state of emergency, as the new plan bans kids under 18 who have been exposed to the measles from public places or schools. The initial plan banned kids under 18 who were not vaccinated from being in public places or schools.

MORE VIDEO: Thornwood doctor discusses effects of measles exposure on most vulnerable

There were no answers at the news conference on how this will be enforced.

The officials thanked New York state for the resources and staff to do more research into the problem to try and fix it.

County Executive Day said he and officials will take every action in their power to combat the measles outbreak.

"Doing nothing, in my view, is absolutely not an option," said Day.

The health commissioner also said that one of the original steps to combat the measles that was taken in December was that every school had to have at least a 95% vaccination rate in order for students who were unvaccinated to attend class. She congratulated 44 schools on Tuesday that had reached that percentage.

Rockland officials stressed that their focus was to try to stop the spread of measles.

Earlier Tuesday, New York City declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood for people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles "crisis" in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people, mostly members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious community, have gotten measles since September.

The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four ZIP codes in the neighborhood.

The declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old.

People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000. The city said it would help everyone covered by the order get the vaccine if they can't get it quickly through their regular medical provider.

The county executive told News 12 that they are days away from finalizing their language and implementing it.

MORE: NY judge rules against Rockland County measles ban , Judge halts Rockland County’s measles emergency order , Rockland parent groups demand end to measles state of emergency , Executive Day: 500 vaccinations given since start of measles emergency ,Free MMR vaccines follow measles state of emergency in Rockland ,Rockland’s measles outbreak not over; new exposure locations revealed ,Officials: 118 of Rockland’s 144 confirmed measles cases did not have vaccine ,Rockland official wants schools to have at least 95% measles vaccination rates ,Rockland holds 12th free measles clinic as cases rise over 90 

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