Health Dept. closes 2 more Brooklyn schools amid measles outbreak

The city’s Health Department closed two more schools in Brooklyn after they failed to comply with the emergency order following a measles outbreak in the borough, officials said on Monday

The two schools — Tiferes Bnos on Marcy Avenue and Talmud Torah D’Nitra, a preschool on Bedford Avenue — didn’t comply with the order, which requires yeshivas and child care programs in certain ZIP codes to turn away unvaccinated children and provide the Health Department with access to medical and attendance records. The city has issued a total of 57 summonses for not complying with the emergency order.

As of Monday, there were 423 confirmed cases of measles in New York City — 82% of which have been in four ZIP codes in Williamsburg: 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249. Earlier this month, the city declared a public health emergency and required vaccinations in those four ZIP codes. 

Nationwide there have been more than 700 confirmed cases of measles in 22 states as of April 26 — the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease was declared eliminated in the country in 2000.

“Schools that continue to disregard our direction during the outbreak will be closed down until they can prove to the Health Department that they will comply,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement. “The reality is, the longer it takes schools and individuals to comply with our order, the longer this outbreak will continue.”

The two schools that were closed will be allowed to reopen once the city approves a "corrective action plan." Previously, the city’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene had closed five schools for failing to comply with the emergency order, but all have since been allowed to reopen.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday it was clear that enforcement of the emergency order has been effective. 

“I think we see some good signs, but we are far from out of the woods," de Blasio said, speaking at an unrelated news conference on Monday. "We’ve made it clear how serious this situation is. On the good news side though, we have twice as many children vaccinated this … last few months than we had in the same period last year. So that is a step in the right direction.”

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner for the Division of Disease Control of the city’s Health Department, said the city has vaccinated about 1,300 people since the emergency order was declared. 

Earlier this month a judge upheld the mandatory vaccination order, according to Reuters. And on Monday the city’s Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services said the Appellate Division denied a request for a temporary restraining order.

(With Ivan Pereira)

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