ALBANY, N.Y. -- In an effort to limit the flu in the upcoming season, New York health officials are requiring thousands of medical staff and other personnel statewide to get vaccinated or else wear masks when in close contact with patients. The New York Health Department rules apply to more than 4,000 hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide. Adopted in July, they will apply when officials determine influenza is prevalent. Last year, that meant Nov. 24 to April 20 when the flu was widespread, department monitoring showed. Doctors, nurses, other employees, contractors, students and volunteers in close contact with patients must follow the rules.