Statements

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November 2016

Statement from the Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on 15 Organizations Filing Amicus Brief in Support of Sodium Warning Rule

“Fifteen organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, and the New York Academy of Medicine submitted an amicus brief today in support of the Health Department’s sodium warning rule. These organizations agree that overconsumption of sodium is a threat to public health and a key modifiable risk factor for hypertension. The sodium warning rule is a powerful tool that allows New Yorkers to make smart decisions to lower their sodium intake. These organizations agree wholeheartedly.”

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [中文]

September 2016

Statements from Deputy Mayor Dr. Palacio and Health Commissioner Dr. Bassett on Congressional Passage of Zika Funding Package

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio
“As the mosquito season in New York City winds down, Congress yesterday passed a $1.1B Zika funding package that would give much needed aid to cities and states affected by this virus. Lack of initiative on Congress’ part did not stop the de Blasio administration from investing $21M in Zika fighting infrastructure and preparedness. I want to thank the New York Congressional Delegation for its concerted efforts to secure funding. I am thankful that Congress came to its senses and that this global city, and others across the nation, will be able to mount a better defense to this public health crisis.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett
“In New York City, there are almost 600 travel-associated cases of Zika and 69 pregnant women who have tested positive for the virus. Thanks to the Mayor’s funding, we have been able to test more than 7,000 people, control the mosquito population, and raise awareness about the virus. None of this would have been possible if we waited for Congress. I’m glad our federal lawmakers finally recognized that this is a public health crisis worthy of funding, but I urge them to fully restore the Public Health Emergency Fund. We can’t continue to have public health get caught up in partisan politics.”

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [中文]

Statement From Assistant Commissioner Mario Merlino Alerting New Yorkers About a “Vermin Control of New York” Letter Scam

fraudulent violation notices

“Unscrupulous people are mailing fraudulent violation notices acting as the Health Department’s Division of Pest Control,” said Assistant Commissioner for Pest Control Services Mario Merlino. “New Yorkers should know that the Health Department never issues a notice of violation demanding immediate payment. Our notices of violation allow New York City residents to address any violations and they can be contested at an official hearing. We ask New Yorkers to immediately contact 311 or the Health Department if they have received a letter from “Vermin Control of New York;” with their help we can stop these tactics.”

In this particular scam, a letter from the “Vermin Control of New York” is sent via U.S. mail to an unsuspecting property owner. The notice is printed on a fake NYC Health Department letterhead and claims to originate from “Rodent Control Program Assessment.” The letter requests immediate payment for specified amounts ranging from $120 through $280 to be mailed to “Vermin Control of New York” at 1255 150th Street, Whitestone, NY 11357. The notice also says “This violation cannot be contested or challenged.” 

A notice of violation cannot result in a fine or penalty without there being an opportunity to contest it in a hearing. Further, the Health Department never requests that it, or its programs, be paid directly for violations it issues. A copy of the fraudulent notice of violation can be found here (PDF).

We ask the public to be alert to this scam.

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [中文]

August 2016

NYC Health Commissioner’s Statement on Updated Zika Travel Guidance

“Federal officials and the Florida Health Department today confirmed local transmission of Zika in an area of Miami Beach. They have extended the current travel advisory to include parts of Miami Beach in addition to Wynwood.  Following their recommendation, the Health Department strongly advises women in New York City who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and their male or female sexual partner, to avoid visiting these two areas of Miami-Dade County, Florida. 

We ask any pregnant New Yorker and their partner who have recently traveled to one of these two areas recently to contact their healthcare provider to determine if they should be tested.

The travel warning also remains in effect for almost all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

As Zika continues to impact multiple parts of the United States, we also renew our call for Congress to fully fund the emergency preparedness bill that will help states combat the spread of Zika. Our response to this public health emergency will only be successful insofar as other jurisdictions are able to contain the virus and combat potential consequences that the Zika virus can have on developing babies and families.”

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español]

Joint Statement From Deputy Mayor Palacio and Health Commissioner Bassett on Updated Health Department Guidance for Florida Travel

“Following the confirmation by the Florida Health Department of ten cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in one area of Miami, Florida, New York City’s Health Department is updating its current travel warning for Latin America and the Caribbean to include this area of Miami. The fact that Zika is spreading locally in this Miami neighborhood means that pregnant women, women trying to conceive, and their sexual partners put themselves and their unborn child at risk of potential Zika infection when visiting this area. Although the mosquito associated with Zika transmission has not been found in New York City, we continue to encourage all New Yorkers to remove standing outdoor water, utilize repellant when appropriate, and avoid mosquito-dense areas. Zika is a mild and treatable disease for most people; however, it could have devastating consequences for an unborn child.”

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [中文]

June 2016

Joint Statement From Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett: Public Officials From the U.S.’s Five Largest Cities Comment on the FDA’s Sodium Reduction Targets for the Food Industry

Leaders of local health departments in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia applaud the FDA for releasing sodium reduction targets for the food industry. More than 75% of sodium in the American diet comes from packaged and restaurant foods, which means that consumers have limited control in determining how much sodium they consume. High sodium intake, which is the norm for most of the population, increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
 
There is already broad support for sodium reduction, as demonstrated by the 100 public health partners that have urged companies to reduce sodium in their products as part of the National Salt Reduction Initiative. This initiative was modeled on a similar sodium reduction model in the United Kingdom, run by the national government, where significant reductions in population sodium intake and blood pressure have occurred. We welcome this federal government action, which reinforces a framework for sodium reduction that local and state governments have endorsed through the NSRI.

The FDA’s targets are a necessary step to result in meaningful sodium reduction by food companies.

Read the statement (PDF)

May 2016

NYC Health Commissioner’s Statement on Sodium Warning Rule Court Decision

Today’s Appellate Division ruling allows New Yorkers to make informed and better decisions about their diets and their health,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Restaurant chains throughout the city have already begun posting the warning labels on their menus and helping New Yorkers watch the salt. Diners are now empowered to make informed decisions to lower their sodium intake and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and other heart-related ailments. This is a tremendous victory for the health of New Yorkers and a wonderful tribute to National Stroke Awareness Month.

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Statement from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on the FDA’s Updates to the Nutrition Facts Label

I applaud the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for updating the Nutrition Facts label found on most packaged foods sold in the U.S. The updated label will be easier to read, draw attention to serving size information, and make several important changes to the nutrients displayed, helping consumers be better informed and enhancing food industry transparency. I commend the FDA for their leadership in helping Americans eat healthier.

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [中文]

Statement from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on the FDA’s Extension of Regulatory Authority Over E-cigarettes, Cigars, and Hookah

I am excited the FDA has taken this long-awaited step of asserting jurisdiction over cigars, electronic cigarettes, hookah and other tobacco products. We know that youth in New York City have been using these deadly and addictive products at increasing—and alarming—rates. This FDA action will reduce the number of youth who start smoking at an early age. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death, and I look forward to the FDA’s next steps in providing even greater protection from deadly and addictive tobacco products.

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages (PDF): [Español] [[中文]

January 2016

Health Department Statement on Zika Virus

The City's Health Department is working closely with the CDC to protect New Yorkers from Zika virus, which is transmitted by a type of mosquito common in Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean but has not been found in New York City.

There are no cases of Zika virus in New York City, but travelers returning from affected areas are advised to take precautions against mosquitoes to prevent potential spread of the virus. Most people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Individuals, who become ill, experience symptoms that include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye. Illness is usually mild and lasts no more than a week.

Symptoms can be treated, but no vaccine exists for Zika virus. A possible link between Zika virus and congenital birth defects has been found in some babies born to infected mothers. For this reason, until more is known, the CDC has advised pregnant women to avoid travel to the affected areas.

The City's Health Department has issued an alert to providers to look for symptoms in returning travelers, and will continue to monitor the situation. Pregnant women who have traveled to the affected areas and have symptoms of Zika virus should see their health care providers.

For more information, New Yorkers can visit
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/zika-virus.page or CDC.gov.

Instructions for Reporting:
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/providers/reporting-and-services/reporting-central.page

To Join NYCMED:
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/providers/reporting-and-services-main.page

Read the statement (PDF) Other languages: [Espanol] [中文]

March 2015

Health Department Statement on Air Quality Following East Village Building Collapse

The explosion, fire and building collapse on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street affected air quality for a period of time, increasing the amount of pollution in the air. The greatest impact occurred close to the buildings, but the plume from the fire affected the neighborhood for several hours. New York State monitors showed a rise in particulates in the East Village that peaked around 4 p.m., but has declined to more typical levels since. Wearing respirators (N-95s) or surgical masks is not necessary.

While the Department advised residents to avoid smoke exposure, short-term exposure to elevated particulates did not pose a significant risk to the public. We continue to encourage people who are sensitive to keep away from the immediate area as the fire smolders, and anyone with asthma or heart conditions that experiences shortness of breath or chest pains should seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, the odor will linger in the area for far longer than the air pollution associated with this fire, and while uncomfortable for some, does not pose a risk to the public.

View Air Monotoring Chart (PDF)

Health Department Statement on East Village Building Collapse

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advises people to avoid smoke exposure from this fire by closing their windows while indoors and reducing outdoor activity where smoke is present. People with heart or breathing conditions such as asthma may be more sensitive to smoke and should seek immediate medical attention if they experience a worsening of their condition, shortness of breath, or chest pains.

December 2014

Patient at Bellevue Hospital Tests Negative for Ebola

An individual who returned to the United States on Sunday from one of the West African nations facing the Ebola epidemic was taken to HHC's Bellevue Hospital Center earlier on Dec. 23. The individual has been blood tested and the results are negative for Ebola. An alternative diagnosis has been confirmed and the individual remains at Bellevue in critical condition.

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Health Department Statement on Patient at Bellevue Hospital

An individual who returned to the United States on Sunday from one of the West African nations facing the Ebola epidemic was taken to HHC's Bellevue Hospital Center today. The individual did not have contact with Ebola patients while in West Africa. Due to the individual's travel history and symptoms, the patient has been isolated and an Ebola test will be performed. The patient is also being evaluated for other causes of illness. Ebola test results are expected late tonight.

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Patient Isolated for Ebola Evaluation

An individual who returned to the United States on Sunday from one of the West African nations facing the Ebola epidemic was taken to HHC's Bellevue Hospital Center. The individual did not have contact with Ebola patients while in West Africa, and was asymptomatic upon return. Due to the individual's travel history and current symptoms, the patient has been isolated. The patient is currently being evaluated by physicians at Bellevue. Further details will be provided if a decision is made to test for Ebola.

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November 2014

Statement from Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on FDA Calorie Labeling Rules

We commend the FDA for taking this important step to inform the public about the calorie content of foods and beverages at the point of purchase in food service establishments.

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Health Department and HHC Update on Individual Tested for Ebola

An individual who traveled to the United States from Mali, a country with limited Ebola transmission, was taken to HHC Bellevue Hospital Center and an Ebola test was performed. The test result is negative. Patient will remain in isolation. Because in early Ebola Virus Disease initial tests may be negative, the patient will have further Ebola tests in the coming days to confirm the negative result.

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Bellevue Patient Update: Joint Statement by NYC Health Department and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation

An individual who came to the United States from Mali, a country with limited Ebola transmission, was taken to HHC Bellevue Hospital Center. Due to the individual’s travel history and symptoms, the patient has been isolated, and an Ebola test will be performed. Results are expected later today (11/20/14).

[En Espanol] (PDF)

Health Department Update on Ebola Test Results

An individual who came to the United States 18 days ago from one of the West African countries with ongoing Ebola transmission died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. Before death, this individual showed no symptoms of Ebola. However due to travel history within the 21 day incubation period and an abundance of caution, an Ebola test was performed on this individual's remains. The test results came back negative.

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Health Department Statement on Ebola Testing

An individual who came to the United States 18 days ago from one of the West African countries with ongoing Ebola transmission died suddenly of an apparent heart attack. Before death, this individual showed no symptoms of Ebola. However due to travel history within the 21 day incubation period and an abundance of caution, an Ebola test will be performed on this individual's remains. Test results are expected early tomorrow morning.

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Health Department Update on Individual Under Quarrantine

The City is announcing that, after a careful physician review, the last individual under quarantine because of contact with Dr. Craig Spencer – the patient discharged from Bellevue Hospital Nov. 11, 2014, after being treated for Ebola – will be subject to direct active monitoring. The individual poses no public health threat and is showing no symptoms.

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Joint Ebola Statement by NYC Department of Health and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation

The City announces several updates on the Ebola situation in New York City.

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Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on Ebola Patient at Bellevue Hospital

EMS HAZ TAC Units transported a patient to Bellevue Hospital who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. The patient, a minor, developed a fever while under observation at the hospital.

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October 2014

Joint Statement by NYC Department of Health and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation on Patient at Bellevue Hospital

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted a test for the Ebola virus on a minor patient who had been transferred to HHC Bellevue Hospital Center last night. This patient developed a fever this morning while under observation at the hospital, and had been in one of the three Ebola epidemic countries in ‎West Africa within the past 21 days.

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Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on Ebola Patient at Bellevue Hospital

EMS HAZ TAC Units transported a patient to Bellevue Hospital who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. The patient, a minor, developed a fever while under observation at the hospital.

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Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on Ebola Patient at Bellevue Hospital

EMS HAZ TAC Units transported a patient to Bellevue Hospital who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. The patient is a health care worker who returned to the U.S. from one of the three countries facing the outbreak of this virus.

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June 2014

Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett on Court of Appeals Decision on Sugary Drink Case

The ruling does not change the fact that sugary drink consumption is a key driver of the obesity epidemic, and we will continue to look for ways to stem the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes by seeking to limit the pernicious effects of aggressive and predatory marketing of sugary drinks and unhealthy foods.

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Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett and Supporters of New York City’s Sugary Drink Portion Rule

The link between sugary drinks and obesity is no longer in question. What we do need to question is the beverage industry's continued promotion of these unhealthy products in communities most burdened by obesity and diabetes.

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Timeline: Board of Health’s Response to Health Crises in New York City (PDF)

May 2014

Health Department Updates New Yorkers on Measles Outbreak

No new cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City for third straight week - keeping the total number of confirmed cases at 26 since February. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others.

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April 2014

Health Department Updates New Yorkers on Measles Outbreak

No new cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City for second straight week - keeping the total number of confirmed cases at 26. While the outbreak appears to be slowing down, it is too son to declare over.

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Amicus Brief Filed In Support Of NYC’s Sugary Beverage Rule

The National Alliance for Hispanic Health and nine other organizations today filed a brief in support of the city's portion cap rule for sugary drinks.

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Read the amicus brief (PDF)

Health Commissioner On Proposed FDA Rule For E-Cigarettes

Proposed rule is an important first step towards protecting the next generation from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

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Health Department Updates New Yorkers on Measles Outbreak

No new cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City. While the outbreak appears to be slowing down, we may continue to see new cases in the coming weeks.

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Health Department Confirms 26 Cases of Measles in NYC

Two new cases of measles have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 26. The outbreak remains centered in Northern Manhattan, with 12 pediatric and 14 adult cases confirmed to date. One of the new cases is unrelated to the outbreak and was associated with foreign travel. After more than two weeks since the last confirmed case, this is a reminder that we must continue to remain vigilant.

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Health Department Updates New Yorkers on Measles Outbreak

Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett announces that the total number of confirmed cases of measles in New York City has been lowered to 24. The Health Department has confirmed 11 pediatric cases and 13 adult cases since February. If you suspect you have measles, please call your medical provider before seeking medical attention to avoid exposing others to the measles virus.

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Health Department Confirms 25 Cases of Measles in NYC

Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett announced that 25 cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City. The Health Department has confirmed 12 pediatric cases and 13 adult cases since February. If you suspect you have measles, please call your medical provider before seeking medical attention to avoid exposing others to the measles virus.

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