State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says that influenza is now prevalent in New York state.

Zucker says flu activity in the state is now considered to be widespread, with lab-confirmed cases of the flu in 42 counties and all of New York City.

This announcement puts into effect a regulation requiring that healthcare workers who are not vaccinated against influenza wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.

So far this season, 691 flu-related hospitalizations and one flu-associated pediatric death have been reported in New York.

The Health Department recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination.