California governor declares state of emergency due to monkeypox outbreak

The announcement comes as more than 5,800 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, including nearly 800 in California.

While the World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern, the Biden administration has not issued a nationwide public health emergency declaration.

California is now the third state – after New York and Illinois – and the largest US state to make a statewide announcement of the disease.

The announcement allows emergency medical services personnel across California to administer FDA-approved monkeypox vaccines, expanding the pool of people able to vaccinate the population against the virus even as vaccine shortages persist.
The emergency declaration states that “expanding the pool of eligible vaccinators will greatly assist existing efforts and support the additional vaccination efforts expected when additional doses are received from the federal government.”

“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure our focus on vaccines, treatment and awareness is most at risk,” he said in a press release.

Monkeypox is a smallpox virus, related to smallpox, that typically causes blisters or blisters-like lesions, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and respiratory symptoms, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .
The virus can spread to anyone through skin-to-skin contact, according to the CDC. It is also possible for people to contract monkeypox from infected animals.

California has received more than 61,000 vaccine doses to date and distributed more than 25,000, according to the governor’s news release. Los Angeles County has received its own vaccine allocations and state officials have said California will make additional allocations in the coming weeks.

Last week, San Francisco became the first major US city to declare a local health emergency against monkeypox.

“We will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccinations, raise awareness about risk reduction, and stand by the LGBTQ community in the fight against stigma,” the California governor said.

Newsom’s office said California is using the testing, contact tracing and vaccine infrastructure created for the Covid-19 pandemic to now respond to the monkeypox outbreak.

The CDC has made the antiviral drug tecovirimat available to monkeypox patients at risk of serious disease, but access is limited in California. Now, the treatment can be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state, officials said.

& # 39;  We Need Vaccines, We Need Them Yesterday: Frustration Rising in the LGBTQ Community Over Government Response to Monkey Pox

California has also expanded its monkeypox testing capacity and can now process more than 1,000 tests a week, according to Newsom.

The state’s first case of monkeypox was reported on May 21 and involved a person who had traveled abroad.

Now, there are probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 27 different local health states, including one involving a young child.

In mid-July, the California Department of Health ordered an additional 600,000 to 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine to help expand eligibility for both confirmed and potential exposures, as well as for high-risk individuals.

The Department of Health said in a news release Friday that it “hopes that the federal government will provide an additional vaccine to meet the state’s request.”

People line up to receive the monkeypox vaccine at the vaccination site at Balboa Sports Center in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on July 27, 2022.

As of last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services has released more than 336,000 doses of Jynneos — an FDA-approved vaccine created for smallpox and monkeypox — from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Health authorities across the country have focused on education efforts to inform Americans about how monkeypox is spread.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including “respiratory secretions” and by touching objects contaminated with monkeypox pests or fluids. Many of the cases in the recent outbreak appear to be related to sexual contact, but monkeypox is not an STD.

A significant number of cases in this outbreak have been in men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men, and public health officials are focusing their preventive efforts in this group. The virus is not unique to this community, but the closely related nature of its spread has had a disproportionate effect.

“Our team is also committed to reducing stigma among the LGBTQ community, which has been unfairly singled out and treated because of this outbreak. No single individual or community is responsible for the spread of any virus. Monkeypox can affect anyone as it is spread by California General Dr. Thomas Aragon in a statement Friday:

After the California emergency was declared, California Equality, a gay and lesbian rights nonprofit, praised the governor as he took action, noting in a statement that the virus “continues to disproportionately affect gay, bisexual and gay men here in California and across the United States.” country.”

Earlier on Monday, California Senator Scott Weiner, who represents San Francisco, and members of the LGBTI caucus called Newsom for $38.5 million in emergency budget allocations to support the local monkeypox response.

CNN’s Sherry Mossberg contributed to this report.

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