WORKPLACE HEALTH and SAFETY UPDATE: What you need to know about COVID-19, Monkeypox and Legionnaires’ Outbreaks


DC 37 is taking measures to protect members’ safety and health at work. Your Union’s Safety and Health Department has compiled the latest information from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on COVID-19, Monkeypox and Legionnaires’ disease.
“We’re here to ensure that management upholds workplace safety standards for DC 37 members and to protect our members in all possible ways,” said Deborah Williams, Safety and Health Department Director. “If anyone believes they are working in an unsafe environment, they should immediately speak to the Union Representative assigned to the location.”


DC 37 wants to help members stay safe in Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must work together to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants, including Omicron and BA5, the sub-variant driving the most recent COVID-19 surge. DOHMH urges people over 50 to get the second COVID-19 vaccine booster.

COVID-19 is still present and New York City is currently experiencing high transmission levels of COVID-19 and its variants. DOHMH recently shared an advisory that recommends indoor masking citywide to lessen the COVID-19 spread. The Health Department advises individuals to continue to take the following precautions to do their part to help stop the spread:

  • Wear a high-quality mask indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces
  • Get vaccinated and boosted
  • Get tested
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • If you feel sick, stay home
  • If you test positive, consult your healthcare provider

For more information, visit

City employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors in public spaces, but it is not mandated. For information on COVID-19 protocols for City employees, including the DCAS Commissioner Directive for Face Coverings, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, COVID testing sites for City employees, NYS worker’s compensation and short-term disability, and FEMA COVID-19 burial assistance, visit


The World Health Organization, WHO, recently declared the Monkeypox outbreak a global health crisis. New York City is the epicenter for Monkeypox with the highest number of cases in the U.S. Mayor Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan declared the rise in Monkeypox transmissions in NYC a public health state of emergency. In August the federal government followed suite, which will add additional funding and more.

Monkeypox, or Orthopoxvirus, is a rare viral disease that does not occur naturally in the U.S. Cases in this country have been associated with international travel or importation of animals from areas where the disease is more common.

Transmission is through direct contact with the sores or rash of someone infected with Monkeypox. The risk of exposure through intimate contact is increasing. It can also spread by contact with bedding, clothing and other items, as well as by respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact with someone with the virus.

Symptoms generally appear within two weeks but as long as 21 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. The most common symptoms are rashes and sores that appear on the face, inside the mouth, on hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Most cases result in mild symptoms. Even with mild illness, the rash and sores can be itchy and painful and can last for two to four weeks.

If you are experiencing symptoms, isolate immediately and consult your healthcare provider. If you do not have a health care provider, you can contact NYC Health and Hospitals for services. Only a healthcare provider can conduct testing.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is available by appointment and supplies are limited.

The City opened Monkeypox vaccination clinics in the boroughs:

  • Bushwick Education: 440 Irving Avenue in Brooklyn
  • Aviation High School: 45-30 36th Street in Queens
  • Bronx High School of Science: 75 W 205th Street in the Bronx
  • The Livonia, 506 Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn
  • The Jefferson: 1300 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn
  • Long Island City: 5-17 46th Road in Queens
  • Kings County Hospital: 686 New York Avenue in Brooklyn
  • Gotham Health, Gouverneur Hospital: 227 Madison Street in Manhattan

DOHMH will also be adding a clinic at Times Square (136 W. 42nd Street) in the coming weeks.

New Yorkers can text the word “MONKEYPOX” to 692692 to receive updates on vaccine appointment availability, visit, or book a vaccine appointment by calling 877-VAX-4NYC.

New York City implemented a one-dose vaccine strategy in July as it awaits the delivery of additional vaccine doses from the federal government. Two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart are recommended.


Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria that grows in warm water. It cannot be spread or transmitted by person-to-person contact. Legionnaires’ is spread by breathing in the water vapor (mist) from cooling towers, saunas and hot tubs. Drinking cold water from the faucet does not transmit Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaires’ causes flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, muscle aches or cough. Complications from the disease can result in fatalities. There is no vaccine available, but symptoms can be treated with antibiotics. Prevention is promoted by appropriate maintenance and treatment of water towers.

Who is at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease? Individuals 50 years old or older, smokers, people with chronic lung disease, a weakened immune system, or who take medicines that weaken the immune system have an increased risk.

A recent outbreak in Highbridge, Bronx, resulted in two fatalities and 24 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. DOHMH contained the outbreak that ended on June 18, 2022.

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