July 2020

Statement from Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot on the Board of Health Resolution to Reopen Childcare Centers

"As New York City continues to reopen, more parents will need child care. This decision is rooted in health as well as equity. Data show that white and wealthy parents are more likely to have job flexibility or to hire independent caregivers, while these options may not be the same for Black, Brown and low-income families. We don’t want any New Yorker to have to choose informal or illegal child care; every child deserves a safe place where they can learn and grow. To support child care programs, the Health Department has developed tools for implementing new safety protocols, will provide technical assistance, and will host a series of webinars to review the COVID-19 mitigation requirements and answer questions."

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March 2020

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot Issues Statement on First Coronavirus Fatality in New York City

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the first fatality in New York City from coronavirus. This is a painful moment and one we furiously worked to avoid. We urge all New Yorkers to continue to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their fellow New Yorkers safe and healthy. We never for a moment lost sight of how serious this situation is, but this tragedy reflects how critical and dire the spread of the virus really is. Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time."

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Statements Archive


May 2019

Health Department Closes School for Violating Commissioner's Order During Measles Outbreak

The Health Department today served closure orders to Simche Kinder (77 students; 812 Myrtle Ave, 11206), because this center repeatedly failed to comply with the Health Department’s Commissioner’s Order. The Health Department is working with parents to find alternative care for the children that attended the program.

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April 2019

Statement from Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot on the Dismissal of the Lawsuit Challenging the Commissioner's Emergency Order

“This decision will protect New Yorkers from a very dangerous infection with potentially fatal consequences. We did not take the Emergency Order lightly. It was a dramatic response to a serious problem. We do not want to issue violations but will continue and hope that New Yorkers make the best choice for their families, their neighbors and their own health — to get vaccinated.”

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March 2019

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot Issues Statement on Proposed Restrictions on Flavored E-Cigarettes

“The FDA’s proposed restrictions on sales of flavored e-cigarettes, including increased enforcement online and for products that are targeted to minors, is an important step. However, a much more aggressive approach is needed; flavored e-cigarettes should not be available, including mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes. Excluding mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes leaves a dangerous gap, which will continue to put youth at risk of nicotine dependence. While it is also promising that the FDA is taking some action on restricting flavored cigars, the new policy falls short. A complete ban by the FDA of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes remains critical to tobacco control.”

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February 2019

Statement from Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot about the Title X Gag Rule

“Women’s reproductive health is under siege in Washington. The Title X gag rule to remove funding from clinics that provide a range of critical reproductive health services, including abortion, will turn back the clock decades in providing health care for women. This rule will deny millions of dollars that support a broad range of health services to over 4 million people every year across the country. In New York City, we will continue to protect women’s fundamental right to control their reproductive health, including comprehensive sexual health education, contraception, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, as well as access to safe abortions. We stand with Planned Parenthood and other providers affected by this misguided rule. Now is the time to come together and fight for our reproductive freedom. #NoGagRule”

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November 2018

Statement from Acting Health Commissioner Dr.Oxiris Barbot on City Council Committee on Land Use for Voting to Approve Bronx Animal Shelter

“I thank Speaker Johnson, Council Member King and members of the City Council Committee on Land Use for their support of a new state-of-the-art animal shelter in the Bronx. The new shelter will provide 1.4 million residents with services and support to help their pets live long and healthy lives, including free and low cost veterinary services, animal adoption services, and educational community programs. It will also add critical capacity to the citywide system, allowing for an additional 6,000 animals to be cared for in the Bronx every year. This will go a long way to achieve the Mayor's pledge to bring full service animal shelters to all five boroughs.”

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October 2018

Statement from Acting Health Commissioner Dr.Oxiris Barbot on the Legionnaires’ Disease Cluster in Lower Washington Heights

“The Health Department has confirmed 16 cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with the Lower Washington Heights cluster.  One person who had underlying health conditions has died. New York City has the strongest enforcement regarding cooling towers in the nation, and we continue to take very aggressive steps to respond to this cluster and prevent more people from becoming sick. The Health Department has investigated every cooling tower in the area, ordering landlords to remediate where necessary and has provided information to residents. The risk to residents of contracting Legionnaire’s disease remains very low; however, adults with flu-like symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention so a doctor can determine whether Legionella testing is needed. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and is easily treatable with antibiotics. People get Legionnaires disease by breathing in water vapor containing the bacteria.” 

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September 2018

Statement from Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot on the FDA Commissioner's Stance on Electronic Cigarettes

“Electronic cigarettes are putting an entire generation at risk: they are addictive, and they may lead to more youth trying cigarettes. We are encouraged to see the FDA taking a stronger stance on e-cigarettes. We hope the FDA will take all of the actions in its power to address the alarming rates of use among youth, including a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.”

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Statements from Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot; City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; and Chairs of the Health Department's Advisory Board on Gender Marker Change Requirements Carrie Davis and Ethan Rice on the Board of Health, City Council Passing Landmark Gender Marker Proposal and Bill

Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot: “Today the New York City Board of Health and City Council voted to allow New Yorkers to choose a non-binary gender-marker on their birth certificate and self-attest to changing their gender on their birth certificate. This is truly a momentous occasion and testament to the work of Board Members, Council Members, but most of all the members of the transgender community whose dedication, work and perseverance made this possible. The Health Department and the Board of Health will continue to work toward a more equitable city, one that reduces stigma, eliminates barriers, and promotes the health of all transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary New Yorkers.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson: "Today is a historic day for New York in its role as a worldwide champion for inclusivity and equality. New Yorkers will no longer need a doctor’s note to change their gender on their birth certificates, and will no longer be treated as if their identify was a medical issue. I'm extremely proud of the work the Council and the Administration has done to make this groundbreaking legislation happen and I especially want to thank the LGBTQ community for their advocacy and work on this issue to keep New York City in its rightful place as a leader in human rights.”

Carrie Davis, Chair of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Report and Advisory Board on Gender Marker Change Requirements: “Today’s action by the New York City Board of Health and City Council regarding non-binary gender identity and self-affirmation updates New York's birth certificates to meet modern medical and scientific and criteria. The birth certificate is a basic and fundamental foundation document that most day-to-day identification documents develop from. These actions offer direct and tangible support to some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers and are exceptionally critical during this time of danger and uncertainty regarding healthcare and human rights for transgender Americans at the national level.”

Ethan Rice, Vice Chair of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Report and Advisory Board on Gender Marker Change Requirements: “Transgender and non-binary people are entitled to and must be able to have accurate identification in order to secure employment, housing and health care, among other things, particularly in today’s environment where they often face unrelenting attacks. We thank the New York City Board of Health and City Council for the critical action taken today that will impact the lives of many transgender and non-binary people. It is important to note that this would not have been possible without many years of tireless work by New York City advocates.”

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June 2018

Statements from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Corporation Counsel Chief of Appeals Richard Dearing on N.Y. Court of Appeals Upholding Mandated Flu Vaccines for Daycare and Preschool Children

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett: “This is a great win for New York City children. We are very pleased this unanimous decision has recognized the Board of Health’s mandate to protect the health of young children. Vaccines save lives and are an effective public health tool to prevent the spread of disease. The severity of this past influenza season reminds us of how deadly influenza can be. The influenza vaccine is the best protection against seasonal influenza for everyone. Children who receive the influenza vaccine are less likely to get sick, less likely to need medical attention and less likely to die from influenza. This decision will help us protect more than 150,000 children in City-regulated day cares and preschools across the city.”

Richard Dearing, Chief of the Appeals Division of the NYC Law Department: “We are pleased with this unanimous decision, which recognizes the ‘very direct connection’ between the Board’s flu vaccine rule and ‘the preservation of health and safety,’ and agreed that the rule is ‘squarely within’ with the Board’s delegated powers and consistent with state law."

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Statement From Health Commissioner Bassett on FDA Trans Fat Ban

“Today, all Americans should celebrate that trans fats are banned. New York City was the first municipality in the country to restrict the use of trans fats in restaurants in 2006. We are proud to have been a leader in what is now a nationwide commitment to reducing the public’s exposure to unhealthy fats and decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

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September 2017

Commissioner Bassett Responds to FDA Delay on Nutrition Facts Label Update

“I am profoundly disappointed that the FDA has decided to delay the implementation of the Nutrition Facts label update. It is yet another action by the Trump Administration that fails to prioritize Americans’ health. Our country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and nutrition related diseases are driving poor health outcomes and early death. This delay denies the American people important information to act in the interest of their health and the health of their families. New Yorkers need this information to make informed food choices, particularly around added sugars.”

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August 2017

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett Issues Statement Regarding Calorie Labeling Agreement

“The City has reached an agreement that preserves calorie labeling in NYC chain restaurants and secures the public posting of the same calorie information New Yorkers have seen for nearly 10 years. In addition, chain food retailers covered by the expanded NYC rule will work towards compliance, and the City will continue to educate these retailers through next May. Several of these previously unregulated chains have already begun providing this information. Their patrons want it and the businesses have obliged. We hope this trend continues. We are pleased that, after our advocacy, the FDA today released a statement announcing additional actions they will take toward a nationwide compliance date of May 2018. We take the FDA at its word. Should the FDA fail to live up to this commitment, this case remains before the Court. The City is prepared to defend its right, independent of FDA action, to enforce its requirements that give New Yorkers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions.”

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Health Department Issues Update On Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Associated With Maradol Papayas

“The Health Department once again urges New Yorkers to avoid eating Maradol papayas, as a national Salmonella outbreak associated with eating imported papayas continues. Since we issued our first warning on July 22, there have been 126 additional cases of Salmonella infection nationwide associated with this outbreak, including 26 among New York City residents.  We remind the public to avoid eating Maradol papayas from Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico to prevent Salmonella infection. If you don’t know where the papaya you bought or are about to buy is from, ask the seller. If you can’t confirm its origin, throw it out.”

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Statement from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on Food and Drug Administration's Opposition to Calorie Labeling Enforcement

“We are disappointed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed a Statement of Interest opposing the City’s enforcement of its calorie labeling requirements. Though chain restaurants in New York City have been providing this information for nearly 10 years, and federal disclosure requirements have been in effect since 2010, the FDA has taken the position that chains can stop providing customers with critical nutrition information. Poor nutrition is fueling an epidemic of chronic diseases, and this basic information should be accessible and transparent to all. We feel confident that the court will support this common sense policy. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to wait and see if the FDA decides to enforce menu labeling nationally.”

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Statement from Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on Passing of Comprehensive Tobacco Legislation Package

“The City today took a major stride toward improving the health of New Yorkers by passing a comprehensive legislative package to further curtail tobacco use. We thank the City Council for working with the de Blasio administration in the drafting of these bills, which will save lives. We particularly thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the bill sponsors, Council Members Johnson, Cabrera, Landers, Vacca and Torres, for ushering these bills through the legislative process and bringing them to a vote today. With this legislation New York City will be at the vanguard of tobacco control in the nation. These comprehensive bills will make a range of tobacco products less accessible by capping the number of locations at which they can be sold; removing these products from pharmacies; and increasing prices. They also take steps towards reducing secondhand smoke exposure at home. This means that fewer New Yorkers will start smoking and many more will quit. In the end, thousands of New Yorkers will lead longer, healthier lives thanks to the hard work of the City Council, the Mayor’s Office, the Health Department, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Consumer Affairs.”

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July 2017

Statement from Health Commissioner Bassett on President Trump's Ban on Transgender Americans Serving in the Military

"Freely expressing one's gender identity and gender expression is central to mental and physical health. The President's decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces will have a detrimental effect on a community that has been stigmatized for far too long. This decision is not driven by sound data, but by misguided prejudice. Transgender Americans who volunteer to join the armed forces deserve the same care and respect as any other enlisted American. We are hopeful that the federal government will reconsider this unfair decision. The Health Department stands with the transgender community and remains focused on achieving health equity for all New Yorkers."

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Statement from Health Commissioner Bassett on Senate's Vote to Begin Debate on the Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

"Health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the fortunate or wealthy. It is a tragedy for the American people and New Yorkers that the President and Congress have decided to play politics with our lives. Our mayor, Bill de Blasio, has persistently denounced the detrimental effects repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act will have on people who need health care the most. The ACA has helped many New Yorkers access affordable health care. Now is the time to double down on that right, not double back as the Senate is doing."

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Statement from the Health Department on Salmonella Outbreak

"The Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration are working together on a multi-state salmonella outbreak associated with yellow Maradol papayas. New Yorkers should not eat yellow Maradol papayas until we learn more about where the contaminated papayas came from."

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May 2017

Statement from Health Commissioner Bassett on President Trump's Proposed Rollback of Contraceptive Coverage

"Contraception is an essential component of women's healthcare – this is why more than 99 percent of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. The President's attempt to roll back the guarantee of contraceptive coverage with no cost is an affront to women's reproductive rights and an injustice that will be most acutely felt by those who are too often economically marginalized – low-income women and women of color. We will not stand by silently while the White House recklessly threatens to harm women and further deepens health inequities that we as a Health Department have committed to reversing."

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Statement From Health Commissioner Bassett on Assembly Passage of New York Health Plan

"Health care is a basic human right. Creating a comprehensive system that includes a health plan available to every New York resident is key to reducing health inequities and improving health outcomes. I thank Speaker Heastie and Assembly Member Gottfried, who has championed this bill, for passing the New York Health Plan, and applaud Senator Rivera for sponsoring the bill in the Senate."

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February 2017

Statement From the Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett on the Decision to Uphold the Sodium Warning Rule by the New York State Supreme Court

"Today the New York State Appellate Division upheld the sodium warning rule. This means New Yorkers will have continued access to information about menu items at chain restaurants containing more than the recommended daily sodium limit. This rule helps New Yorkers make informed decisions that can contribute to lower sodium intake. High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke. The Health Department will continue developing polices that uphold our mission of promoting and protecting the health of all New Yorkers.

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