Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declares local monkeypox emergency amid spike in cases

Los Angeles (CNS) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the local emergency declaration Tuesday in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

Board Chair Holly Mitchell issued an announcement late Monday declaring a state of emergency in Los Angeles County, where more than 400 cases of monkeypox have been identified so far — nearly double the number from a week ago.

“This announcement is important to helping us tackle this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to go beyond routine to better allocate resources and educate residents on how to protect themselves and help stop the spread. It will also allow the county to administer vaccines quickly as more becomes available and take the necessary efforts to obtain supplies and enhance communication and awareness.”

The Board of Supervisors approved the announcement Tuesday unanimously.

As part of the announcement, the Board of Supervisors will require that recovery assistance be provided under the California Disaster Assistance Act, and that the state expedite access to state and federal resources and any other appropriate federal disaster relief programs.

The Board of Supervisors will also direct county departments to carry out all assessment, assistance and monitoring efforts as appropriate.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency for California on Monday in response to an increase in monkeypox cases in the state. New York also issued an emergency declaration, as did San Francisco.

Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote on Twitter on Monday that she supports the emergency declaration.

“Hopefully this helps with vaccination efforts and ultimately helps slow the spread of this virus,” Han said in a tweet.

Superintendent Catherine Barger said in a statement that the county “needs to withdraw all available support to expedite the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk and suffering from this terrible disease. I will work to ensure we do so quickly and efficiently. We have no time to waste.”

As of Monday, a total of 824 monkeypox cases had been confirmed in California — the second highest in any state, after 1,390 in New York — while the nationwide total was 5,811, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Control. on diseases and their prevention. There were more than 400 cases in Los Angeles County as of Tuesday, primarily in gay men.

Monkeypox is generally spread through skin-to-skin contact, resulting in infectious rashes and scales, although respiratory secretions and body fluids exchanged during prolonged physical episodes, such as sexual contact, can also lead to transmission, according to the CDC. . It can also be transmitted by sharing items such as bedding and towels.

Symptoms include new blisters, blisters, rash, fever and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have had smallpox, or have been vaccinated against it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if it is given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.

According to the CDC, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to pressure federal health officials for more monkeypox vaccine supplies, and boosted funding to test and administer the shots. The county has slowly expanded eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies are still very limited.

In Los Angeles County, monkeypox vaccines are available for people who have been confirmed by the Department of Public Health to have had high-risk or high-risk contact with a known monkeypox patient, and for people who attended an event or visited a place where they were high. Risk of exposure to a confirmed case. These people are generally identified by county contact tracing efforts, and will be notified by the county.

Vaccines are also available for gay, bisexual, and transgender men who have been diagnosed with rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past year.

Also eligible for shots are gay, bisexual, or transgender men who are on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV or PrEP, or who have attended or worked in a commercial sex setting or another location where they had sex or sex with multiple anonymous partners – such as a sauna Bath or sex club – in the last 21 days.

Eligibility was expanded Tuesday to include gay, bisexual or transgender men age 18 or older who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past 14 days.

People who think they fall into any of the criteria can contact their health care provider to see if that provider can give the vaccine.

Eligible people who do not have a health care provider — or whose provider does not have the vaccine — can make an appointment at the designated vaccine clinic or visit the visit site. Information is available at ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypox. A list of monkeypox vaccine sites is available here.

The county has also activated a website where residents can fill out an online form to see if they qualify for a shot and pre-register to be added to the waiting list.

People who register on the site and are eligible to get the vaccine will receive a text message when it is available, with information about where to get the vaccine.

Registration site here.

On Wednesday, the county will open a monkeypox vaccination site at West Hollywood Library, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. For people who have previously registered for the vaccine. It will be open by appointment only from 9am to 6pm

The vaccine is a two-shot system, so additional supplies will be reserved to provide second doses to those who received the initial shot.

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