Anyone under the age of 18 and unvaccinated against the measles has officially been banned from a number of Hudson Valley locations.

On Tuesday, Rockland County Executive Ed Day declared a countywide State of Emergency relating to the ongoing measles outbreak. Effective at midnight on Wednesday, anyone who is under 18 years of age and unvaccinated against the measles is barred from public places until this declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive the MMR vaccination, officials say.

"Every action we have taken since the beginning of this outbreak has been designed to maximize vaccinations and minimize exposures. We are taking the next step in that endeavor today," Day said in a press release. "This is an opportunity for everyone in our community to do the right thing for their neighbors and come together. We must do everything in our power to end this outbreak and protect the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and that of children too young to be vaccinated."

According to county officials, public places are defined as: a place where more than 10 persons are intended to congregate for purposes such as civic, governmental, social, or religious functions, or for recreation or shopping, or for food or drink consumption, or awaiting transportation, or for daycare or educational purposes, or for medical treatment. A place of public assembly shall also include public transportation vehicles, including but not limited to, publicly or privately owned buses or trains, but does not include taxi or livery vehicles.

"As this outbreak has continued our inspectors have begun to meet resistance from those they are trying to protect. They have been hung up on or told not to call again. They've been told 'we're not discussing this, do not come back,' when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations. This type of response is unacceptable and irresponsible. It endangers the health and well-being of others and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community," Day said.

The ban doesn't apply to anyone immune to measles as documented by a physician or prevented from receiving a measles vaccination for a medical reason documented by a physician, officials say.

Law enforcement will not be patrolling or asking for vaccination records but those found to be in violation will be referred to the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.

Last week, Rockland County officials announced there were 151 confirmed reported cases of measles in the county adding a Hudson Valley Target, a supermarket and other popular local businesses were recently exposed to measles.

Since October, there have been at least 211 confirmed cases of measles in New York State. Some 145 cases come from Orange and Rockland counties with 64 cases found in Brooklyn.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. People first develop a fever, then often a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by an appearance of a rash. People are considered infectious four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.

Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or a runny nose. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as seven days and as late as 21 days after exposure.

In October, it was reported an international traveler with measles visited multiple locations in Rockland and Westchester counties. Among the locations infected with measles was the Costco in Nanuet and Westchester Medical Center.

Around Thanksgiving, shoppers at the Palisades Mall were potentially exposed to measles. 

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