Monkeypox: State of emergency declared in California due to outbreak
Sacramento, California - Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday declared a state of emergency in California due to the spread of the monkeypox virus in order to "bolster the state's vaccination efforts."
"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 said in statement.
Nearly 800 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed in California, according to the most recent data released Thursday by the California Department of Public Health.
The state reported that 98.3% of those cases were confirmed in men, the majority of whom identify as part of the LGBTQ community. The virus is largely spreading among men who have sex with men as well as transgender and nonbinary people.
California looking to boost vaccination efforts
The proclamation makes it easier for the state to coordinate its response to the outbreak and allows EMS workers to administer vaccines.
Newsom's office said California has distributed more than 25,000 doses of the vaccine out of a total of 61,000 doses received to date. The Jynneos vaccine in particular remains in short supply across the nation.
The governor's office said more than 30 facilities and providers across the state are offering treatment for monkeypox, though access to the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat is also limited.
"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," Newsom said.
The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox, though usually milder. Those infected by the virus initially have a fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Later they develop a rash, usually starting on the face and then spreading, turning into pus-filled sores before they fall off.
Cover photo: Collage: Patrick T. FALLON / AFP & JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP