Newsom Declares Monkeypox State of Emergency as Virus Spreads

With CA monkeypox cases surpassing 800 in under 3 months, Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency to boost state vaccination efforts

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency Monday in order to “bolster the state’s vaccination efforts” against monkeypox, Newsom’s office announced in a press release.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California had 827 known cases of the once-rare disease as of Monday evening, when there were also 5,811 cases recorded nationally.

“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 that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatment and outreach,” Newsom’s statement says. “We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization.”

According the Governor’s office, the emergency proclamation will expand vaccination efforts by enabling EMS personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA, “similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines.”

The administration said its response to monkeypox “builds on the infrastructure developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to deploy vaccine clinics and ensure inclusive and targeted outreach in partnership with local and community-based organizations.”

As for tracing efforts, the statement adds, “As of July 28, the state had expanded its testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests a week. The state’s public health laboratory leaders have been working with local public health, academic, and commercial laboratories to ensure testing capacity is increasingly available and coordinated with the public health response.”

The California Department of Public Health is also expanding treatment options, the agency said, but warns that access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) used to treat monkeypox “is limited,” although the treatment can now be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers statewide.

According to the CDC, the last U.S. monkeypox outbreak worth noting was in 2003, when there were 47 cases reported in six states.

The first case of monkeypox reported in California in 2022 was recorded on May 24. The first case in Los Angeles was recorded by health officials on June 2, and the second case in L.A. was recorded on June 8.

New York State, where more than one-in-four current U.S. monkeypox cases originate, saw a State of Emergency declared by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday. New York City Mayor Eric Adams followed suit on Monday, as did Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

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