LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a local declaration of emergency Tuesday in response to a monkeypox outbreak.
Board of Directors President Holly Mitchell issued a statement late Monday declaring a state of emergency in Los Angeles County, where more than 400 cases of monkeypox have been identified – nearly twice as many one week ago.
“This statement is critical in helping us get through this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to cross the red ribbon to better reserve resources and educate people on how to protect themselves and help stop the spread. It will also allowing the county to quickly administer vaccines when more are available and make the necessary efforts to obtain supplies and increase access and awareness.”
The Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday’s statement on a unanimous vote.
As part of the statement, the Board of Supervisors will require the provision of recovery assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act, and the state expedites access to state and federal resources and any any other appropriate federal disaster relief program.
The Board of Supervisors will also direct county departments to implement all assessment, assistance, and monitoring efforts where applicable.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued State of Emergency for California on Monday in response to a spike in monkeypox cases in the state. New York also issued an emergency declaration, as did San Francisco.
Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote on Twitter Monday that she supports the emergency declaration.
“I hope this helps with vaccination efforts and ultimately helps slow the spread of this virus,” Hahn said in a tweet.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement that the county “needs to draw upon all available support to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk of and contracting this terrible disease. I’m going to work to make sure we’re doing it quickly and efficiently. We don’t have any time to waste.”
As of Monday, a total of 824 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed in California – the second-highest of any state, behind New York’s 1,390 – while nationally the aggregate number was 5,811, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been more than 400 cases in Los Angeles County as of Tuesday, mostly in gay men.
Smallpox in monkeys is usually spread by skin-to-skin contact, by contagious rashes and scabs, although respiratory secretions and bodily fluids are exchanged during prolonged movements, such as sexual intercourse. Sex can also lead to disease transmission, according to the CDC. It can also be transmitted through shared use of items such as bedding and towels.
Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rash, fever, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox, or have been vaccinated against it, may have immunity to monkeypox.
According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.
According to the CDC, gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men have a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to lobby federal health officials to provide more supplies of monkeypox vaccine and increase funding for testing and administering the shots. The county has gradually expanded its eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies are still very limited.
In Los Angeles County, monkeypox vaccine is provided to persons with confirmed high-risk or immediate exposure by the Department of Public Health to a known monkeypox patient, and to those attended an event or visited a location where they were at high risk. exposure to a confirmed case. These people are usually identified through the county’s contact tracing efforts and they will be notified by the county.
Screenings are also open to gay and bisexual men and transgender people with a diagnosis of rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past year.
Also eligible for injection are gay or bisexual or transgender men who are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or have attended or worked in a sex trade or other location where they have had anonymous sex or had sex with multiple partners – such as at a sauna, bathhouse or sex club – in the past 21 days.
Eligibility was expanded on Tuesday to include gay or bisexual or transgender men 18 years of age or older who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past 14 days.
People who believe they meet any of the criteria can contact their healthcare provider to see if that provider can use the vaccine.
Eligible individuals who do not have a healthcare provider – or a provider who does not carry the vaccine – can make an appointment at a designated vaccine clinic or go to a walk-in location. Information is available at ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypox. A list of monkeypox vaccination 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 the injection and pre-register to be added to the waitlist.
Those who register at the site and are eligible for the vaccine will receive a text message when the vaccine is available, with information on where to get the shot.
The registration site is here.
The county on Wednesday will open a monkeypox vaccination site at the West Hollywood Library, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., to those who have pre-registered for the vaccine. It will be open by appointment only from 9am to 6pm
The vaccine is a two-shot regimen, so an additional supply will be stocked to provide a second dose to those who received the first dose.
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