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One firefighter missing and one resident dead after New York nursing home fire

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A New York assisted-living facility caught fire and partially collapsed early Tuesday, leaving at least one person dead and others injured, according to officials. One firefighter is also missing as of Tuesday morning.

The fire started around 1 a.m. at Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley, about 30 miles north of New York City. Firefighters arrived at the scene and began to evacuate residents.

20 to 25 residents were rescued and about 20 were taken to local hospitals, Rockland County Fire Coordinator Chris Kear said. Two firefighters were also taken to area hospitals.

One resident was pronounced dead at the hospital and several others had injuries described as serious, Kear said. One of the firefighters has been released.

The missing firefighter was attempting to rescue a resident form the third floor but “got lost in the conditions” and issued a mayday call, Kear said. The firefighter remains unaccounted for as of Tuesday morning.

“The mayday was answered. However, with the extent of the fire, the volume of fire, the conditions were just too unbearable where firefighters went in, they just could not locate the firefighter and they headed back out,” Kear told reporters on Tuesday.

The fire continued to burn at Evergreen Court more than eight hours later. Witnesses said the fire could be seen for miles.

Kear said the building was a “total loss” and did not release details on the cause of the fire.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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NY Gov Hochul issues executive order: Polio ‘an official diisaster’

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New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order that Polio is now considered an official disaster. 

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York State Health Commissioner. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up-to-date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”

The virus that causes polio has been found in the wastewater of more than one county, according to state health officials. “A sewage sample from Nassau County collected in August tested positive for poliovirus, following the prior detection of the virus in wastewater samples in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County and New York City, further indicating that the virus is spreading in the area to some degree” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The Nassau County sample was also genetically linked to the single confirmed case of paralytic polio that had been identified this summer in a young adult resident in Rockland County who was unvaccinated.”

Hochul’s executive order has been issued through Oct. 9, and expands the network of providers able to administer polio vaccinations to “include emergency-medical-services workers, midwives and pharmacists.”

The new order makes providers send polio-immunization data to the New York State Department of Health in order to better help health officials “focus vaccination efforts on areas of low uptake.”

New York state health officials have sent out alerts to providers, have hung fliers “in houses of worship, grocery stores and summer camps and talked with community leaders about boosting vaccination rates this summer.”

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The poliovirus spreads mostly when a person touches their mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s feces. Most infected people don’t develop any symptoms but can still spread the virus, a major concern for health officials, and around a quarter develop flulike symptoms. Those who are vaccinated are at low risk, health officials have said, as getting three doses of the polio vaccine administered in the U.S. is at least 99% effective at preventing paralytic disease.

Health officials, however, also said that certain New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated but at high-risk should receive a single lifetime booster. That applies to individuals who will or might have close contact with a suspected or confirmed polio patient, as well as healthcare workers in those areas who might handle poliovirus samples or treat patients who might have polio…

Two forms of the virus can cause paralysis, one of them being the wild poliovirus found in nature. The case in New York, on the other hand, is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus, a mutated form of a strain used in an oral polio vaccine…

The oral polio vaccine, used in many parts of the world outside of the U.S., relies on a weakened, live form of the virus that recently inoculated children shed in their feces. In places with lower vaccine uptake, the weakened virus can sometimes circulate and mutate to become more like the wild virus and potentially paralyze people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

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