Important Facts About COVID-19, Monkeypox, Legionnaires’ & Polio
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS & MIKE LEE
DC 37 is taking measures to protect members’ safety and health at work, with the Safety and Health Department compiling the latest information from the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on COVID-19, Monkeypox, Legionnaires’ disease, and Polio. In August, the federal government followed suit, which will increase funding and services.
“We’re here to ensure that management upholds workplace safety standards for DC 37 members and protects our members in all possible ways,” said Deborah Williams, Safety and Health Department Director. “Anyone who believes they are working in an unsafe environment should immediately speak to the Union Representative assigned to the location.”
COVID-19 INFORMATION, ADVISORY & VACCINE MANDATE UPDATE
DC 37 wants to help members stay safe during the pandemic by working together to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants. DOHMH urges people over 50 to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster.
COVID-19 is still present and spreading. The Health Department advises individuals to continue to take precautions to help stop the spread. For more information, visit nyc.gov/covid.
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 Workers’ Compensation and short-term disability, and FEMA COVID-19 burial assistance, visit dc37blog.net.
- 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 health care provider
City employees are encouraged to wear masks indoors in public spaces, although 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 Workers’ Compensation and short-term disability, and FEMA COVID-19 burial assistance, visit dc37blog.net.
The World Health Organization 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.
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 sores or a rash of someone infected with Monkeypox. However, the risk of exposure through intimate contact is increasing as Monkeypox 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 on the face, inside the mouth, 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 last for two to four weeks. If you are experiencing symptoms, isolate yourself immediately and consult your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, contact NYC H+H for services. Only a health care provider can conduct testing.
First- and second-dose appointments are now available. Walk-in vaccinations for first doses are also available at City-run sites, but we recommend you make an appointment. You can only get a second dose if you received your first dose on or before July 23. Again, you must make an appointment to get a second dose.
If you are eligible, you may make an appointment by visiting Vax4NYC.ny.gov or by calling 877.VAX.4NYC (877.829.4692).
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’ are 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’ cause 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.
Individuals 50 and older, smokers, people with chronic lung disease, a weakened immune system, or who take medicines that weaken the immune system have an increased risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
A recent outbreak in Highbridge, Bronx, resulted in two fatalities and 24 cases of Legionnaires’.
In August 2022, health officials found poliovirus in NYC sewage samples. This followed a case of paralytic Polio identified in Rockland County in July. Officials are investigating the virus’ positive case and potential ongoing spread in several upstate counties and the NYC area. There have not yet been any identified cases in the city.
Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious viral infection caused by an enterovirus. It is characterized by paralysis or weakness in the arms, legs, or both. Getting yourself and your children vaccinated is the best protection to avoid polio. Children ages 4 years and older can get low- or no-cost vaccines at the Immunization Clinic at the Fort Greene Health Center.
Fully vaccinated adults probably do not need a booster at this time. However, vaccinated adults at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus should talk to their health care provider about whether they may need a booster.