NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In suburban Rockland County, a measles state of emergency turned into a state of confusion after a legal ruling last week.
Now, officials are coming up with new restrictions that will comply with a judge’s order, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.
“We cannot put our head in the sand in the face of reality, and hear me now, we will not,” County Executive Ed Day said.
You could hear the frustration in Day’s voice.
On Friday, Judge Rolf Thorsen put Day’s emergency order barring unvaccinated minors from public places on hold and allowed unvaccinated children at Green Meadow Waldorf School to return to class.
While the county appeals, it is working on new restrictions. Any unvaccinated person who is exposed to measles must stay home for 21 days or face a possible fine.
“Those fines can be up to $2,000, so if a neighbor sees you go out, and makes a phone call, and we find this to be true, that’s what’s going to happen,” Day said.
The ultra-Orthodox community is at the center of the outbreak. An anonymously published magazine distributed in Jewish neighborhoods has raised fears the measles vaccine may be dangerous.
Beyond the Orthodox community, so called “anti-vaxers” have protested their distrust of vaccine science is profound.
“We all got onto this planet sans vaccines, so I have a big problem with injecting anyone with the MMR vaccine that is currently in a lawsuit,” one woman said.
“What’s going on with the misinformation, As I called the other day the ‘junk science’ from the anti-vaxers and those groups, is unacceptable,” Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel said. “It is not something people should hang their hat on.”
The county’s Department of Health is working on details of the new restrictions for unvaccinated people. There has been some progress — the number of private schools with large numbers of unvaccinated children has dropped from 66 to 17.