LA County Board of Supervisors declares local emergency for monkeypox amid rising cases

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday ratified a local emergency declaration in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

Board chairman Holly Mitchell issued a proclamation late Monday declaring a state of emergency in Los Angeles County, where more than 400 cases of monkey pox have been identified so far — nearly double the number a week ago.

“This proclamation is critical to helping us stay ahead of this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, we can cut through the bureaucracy to better allocate resources and educate residents on how to protect themselves and help stop the spread. It will also allow the county to rapidly administer vaccines.” as more become available and to make the necessary efforts to obtain supplies and increase reach and awareness.”

The Supervisory Board unanimously endorsed the statement on Tuesday.

As part of the proclamation, the Board of Trustees will request that recovery assistance be made available under the California Disaster Assistance Act, and that the state expedite access to state and federal resources and other applicable federal disaster relief programs.

The Board of Supervisors will also direct provincial departments to conduct all evaluation, assistance and monitoring efforts, as appropriate.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency for California Monday in response to the rise in monkey pox cases in the state. New York has also issued a declaration of emergency, as has San Francisco.

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

“I am hopeful that this will aid vaccination efforts and ultimately help slow the spread of this virus,” Hahn said in a tweet.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement that the county “must use all available support to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk and suffering from this terrible disease. I will do everything I can to make sure we do this.” quickly and efficiently.” We have no time to lose.”

On Monday, a total of 824 monkeypox cases were confirmed in California — the second-highest of any state, behind 1390 in New York — while the total number stood at 5,811 nationwide, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Tuesday, there were more than 400 cases in Los Angeles County, mostly among gay men.

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

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rash, fever, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People infected with, or vaccinated against, smallpox may be immune 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, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus.

Last week, the Board of Trustees voted to lobby federal health officials for more stockpiles of monkeypox vaccines and increased funding for testing and administering the injections. The county has been slowly expanding eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies remain extremely limited.

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

Shots are also available for gay and bisexual men and transgender people with a diagnosis of rectal gonorrhea or early syphilis in the past year.

Also eligible are gay or bisexual men or transgender people who are taking HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, or who attended or worked at a commercial sex venue or other location where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners — such as in a sauna, bathhouse or sex club — in the past 21 days.

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

People who believe they meet any of the criteria can contact their healthcare provider to see if that healthcare provider can administer the vaccine.

Qualified people who don’t have a health care provider — or whose health care provider doesn’t carry the vaccine — can make an appointment at a designated vaccine clinic or visit a walk-in location. 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 are eligible for an injection and pre-register to be placed on a waiting list.

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

The registration website is here.

The county will open a monkeypox vaccination center Wednesday at the West Hollywood Library, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., for people who have pre-registered for the vaccine. It is open by appointment only from 9am to 6pm

The vaccine is a two-shot regimen, so additional supplies will be set aside to give second doses to those who received the first shot.

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