NEW CITY, N.Y. — A state judge has issued a preliminary injunction against a suburban New York county’s emergency order banning children from public places unless they’ve been vaccinated against measles.
Supreme Court Justice Rolf Thorsen ruled Friday in favor of several dozen parents challenging Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s order, part of efforts to stop a measles outbreak that has infected 166 people since October.
The 30-day order enacted on March 26 bans unvaccinated people under 18 from gathering places including schools, stores, and churches. Civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman called Day’s action “arbitrary and capricious.” Many in the Jewish Orthodox community in the county told STAT last month they worried that the move would only exacerbate a fractured relationship with the local government.
The judge said such emergency orders cannot exceed five days. He also noted that 166 measles cases in a population of 330,000 people over six months doesn’t constitute an “epidemic” meriting an emergency declaration.
Health departments in two other states reported cases of measles they are monitoring. On Friday, Maryland’s health office warned that anyone who visited 4000 Old Court Road in Pikesville in Baltimore County last Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. may have been exposed to measles. Officials also say individuals who may have been exposed at additional locations are being directly notified.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday five additional cases of measles bring to 39 the number confirmed in the state this year. Each of the newly confirmed cases was in Oakland County, which now has 38 confirmed cases. The other case was in Wayne County. Infected individuals range in age from 8 months to 63 years.