By Bill Parry
The city’s health department confirmed that an 8-year-old LeFrak City girl’s death last week was flu related, but it was unclear if Amely Baez had received a flu shot.
Baez is the fourth child believed to have died from the flu outbreak that has swept the city in recent weeks, with more than 13,000 laboratory-confirmed cases. Queens has been the hardest hit of the five boroughs with more than 4,000 cases to date, according to the state health department.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) went to the sprawling residential complex in Corona Tuesday and offered free flu shots in cooperation with Elmhurst Hospital Center and LeFrak City Maintenance Services, warning that the outbreak still poses a danger.
“Unfortunately, this flu season is not over. The tragic deaths of Amely and three other children reminds us of how dangerous the flu outbreak is,” Peralta said. “I urge New Yorkers to protect themselves, and their children, and get vaccinated if they haven’t done so already. We need to ensure we do everything possible to combat the spread of this deadly virus as the number of hospitalizations is increasing. The influenza vaccine can be the difference between life and death. Nationwide, 63 children and teenagers died from the flu.”
Israel Rocha, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, agreed with Peralta.
“The best line of defense continues to be the flu shot, which helps to prevent the flu or, just as important, to minimize the flu’s symptoms for those who still catch it. It can save lives.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr