With Summer Officially Here, NYC Health Department Holds Citywide Zika Day Of Action

Dozens of outreach teams raise awareness in communities with ties to Zika-affected countries

June 22, 2016 – The New York City Health Department today joined the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit to announce a Zika Day of Action. In a coordinated effort to spread awareness about the Zika virus, the City engaged New Yorkers across the five boroughs by deploying dozens of outreach teams from the Health Department, the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit, New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) and the Medical Reserve Corps to visit 20 subway transit hubs at peak travel hours between 7AM and 10AM to hand-deliver educational materials on mosquito prevention and Zika testing information. The teams targeted communities with close ties to Zika-affected countries. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett was joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio outside the A/C/1 train stop at 168th and Broadway in Washington Heights.

“As an international hub, New York City has been hard at work since last November developing and implementing plans to manage the Zika virus and its implications for New York City residents as well as its visitors,” said Deputy Mayor Dr. Herminia Palacio.  “In spite of the fact that the mosquito that is known to carry the virus is not presently in the city, key to this multipronged approach is information sharing: people must know who is most at risk, who should get tested, and how everyone can protect themselves from mosquito bites. With all our work, we are confident that we are prepared for all possible scenarios.”

“Today, outreach teams from the Health Department and the Mayor’s Office fanned out across the city to raise awareness about the Zika virus in communities with strong ties to countries where the virus is currently circulating,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Our main message today is that if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant, do not travel to a Zika-affected country. If your male partner can avoid travel, he should as well. If there is one year to reconsider a vacation to a Zika-affected country, this is that year.”

“The City is taking Zika very seriously and this direct contact with uptown residents will ensure they are informed,” said Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez. “I’m glad to be hosting a full information session on Zika with the administration on Monday, June 27th, where any and all questions will be answered to help address the concerns of our community.”

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, mosquito control experts and clinicians, the Health Department has developed a robust plan to stem the potential for a Zika virus outbreak in New York City, including a multi-million dollar public awareness campaign, enhanced mosquito control and surveillance and testing support for health care providers. The City’s Zika investment totals $21 million over a three-year period, including a New York State match.

The Health Department has been conducting extensive community outreach to educate New Yorkers about the Zika virus. Since January 1, the Health Department has given more than 120 community presentations in town halls, community and faith-based organizations and neighborhood groups citywide. The agency has also sent community outreach teams to OB/GYN offices and other health care providers to encourage doctors to talk to their patients about Zika and Zika testing. Today’s Zika Day of Action is the latest outreach effort to talk to City residents about the risks of Zika infection. Next week, the Health Department, in partnership with Councilmembers Ydanis Rodríguez and Mark Levine, State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will host a Zika Town Hall meeting in Washington Heights. The town hall will be held on Mon. June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Health Academy of the Heights (504 West 158th Street, New York, NY, 10032).

Women should get tested for the Zika virus if they have traveled to a Zika-affected country while pregnant. Health care providers caring for reproductive age women are urged to ask patients about Zika exposure and offer Zika virus testing if appropriate. Detailed guidance for submitting specimens for Zika virus testing has been provided to healthcare providers throughout the city and is available at nyc.gov/health.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Christopher Miller/Jeremy House (347) 396-4177 pressoffice@health.nyc.gov