LA County Board of Supervisors proclaims local monkeypox emergency 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 Chair Holly Mitchell issued a proclamation late Monday declaring an emergency in Los Angeles County, where more than 400 cases of monkeypox have been identified so far, nearly double the number of ‘A week ago.

“This proclamation is essential to help us get ahead of this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to cut red tape to better dedicate 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 new ones become available and to make the necessary efforts to stock up and build outreach and awareness.”

The supervisory board ratified the statement on Tuesday unanimously.

As part of the proclamation, the Board of Overseers will call for recovery assistance to be made available under California’s Disaster Assistance Act, and for the state to expedite access to state resources and federal agencies and any other appropriate federal disaster relief programs.

The Board of Overseers will also direct county departments to implement all assessment, assistance and follow-up efforts as appropriate.

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

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

“I hope this will help 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 withdraw all available support to expedite the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk of and suffering from this terrible disease. I will work to make sure we do this quickly. and efficiently. We have no time to waste.

On Monday, a total of 824 cases of monkeypox were confirmed in California – the second highest of any state, behind New York’s 1,390 – while nationwide the total number was 5,811, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were more than 400 cases in Los Angeles County as of Tuesday, mostly among gay men.

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

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox or who have been vaccinated against it may be immune to monkeypox.

According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if given before or soon 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 oversight board voted to pressure federal health officials for more monkeypox vaccine supplies and increased funding for vaccine testing and administration. The county has slowly expanded eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies remain extremely tight.

In Los Angeles County, monkeypox vaccines are available to people confirmed by the Department of Public Health to have had high-risk or immediate contact with a known monkeypox patient, and to people who attended an event or visited a place where they were at high risk. risk of 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.

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

Gay or bisexual men or transgender people who are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, or who have frequented or worked in a commercial sex venue or other location where they have had sex anonymously or with multiple partners are also eligible for injections. such as in a sauna, bathhouse or sex club — in the past 21 days.

Eligibility was expanded on Tuesday to include gay or bisexual men or transgender people aged 18 and over who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past 14 days.

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

Qualified individuals who do not have a health care provider — or whose provider does not carry the vaccine — can either book an appointment at a designated vaccination clinic or go to a walk-in location. Information is available at ph.lacounty.gov/monkeypox. A list of monkeypox vaccination locations is available here.

The county has also enabled a website where residents can fill out an online form to see if they may be eligible for a vaccine and pre-register to be added to a waitlist.

People who register on the site and are eligible for the vaccine will receive an SMS when it becomes available, with information on where to get the shot.

The registration site is here.

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

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

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