New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD, JD, announced yesterday that influenza is no longer prevalent, thereby declaring the end of the 2016–17 influenza season. DOH’s announcement alerted health care providers that, pursuant to Articles 28, 36, and 40 of the Public Health Law, certain health care facilities no longer need to confirm personnel not vaccinated against influenza this season wear a surgical or procedure mask when in areas near patients. The declaration will remain in effect until the Commissioner declares influenza prevalent once again, in the 2017–18 influenza season.

To access further information on implementing DOH’s flu mask regulations, including a Frequently Asked Questions document and guidance on reporting requirements, please visit the DOH website. Hospitals can also contact the State at flumaskreg@health.ny.gov or Zeynep Sumer King with questions.