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San Diego County declares health emergency due to monkeypox

Posted at 1:22 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 20:55:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) —San Diego County declared a local public health emergency Tuesday in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

“Today, the County is declaring a local health emergency for monkeypox to align our efforts with the approach taken by the State of California. This will also allow us to strengthen our County’s vaccination, prevention, education and treatment initiatives," said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

"This action will allow availability of personnel, such as pharmacists and EMTs, to also administer vaccines, to utilize state resources for vaccine administration, and to leverage the public health infrastructure related to testing, contact tracing, and as well as case investigation, community outreach and engagement," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, a County Public Health Officer.

Currently, testing is only available to those with monkeypox symptoms like rash and lesions. The county has received nearly 4,000 vaccines and already administered a little more than 2,000. Treatment is also available through healthcare providers for those who test positive.

County health officials say 46 confirmed or probable monkeypox cases have been identified locally. "The ages range from 27 to 58, with a median age of 34, all cases are male, and 39 of the cases have self-identified as gay," said Wooten.

Local leaders made it clear that anyone can contract monkeypox, and it does not exclusively impact one community.

"At this time monkeypox outbreaks are disproportionately impacting our LGBTQ communities, but we know it can spread to others, and it's vitally important that we not stigmatize any individual that we not stigmatize any community or we not cast any aspersions," said Fletcher.

Monkeypox is generally spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting from infectious rashes and scabs, though respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during extended physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission, according to the CDC.

RELATED: Local expert weighs in on California's monkeypox emergency

It can also be transmitted through the sharing of items such as bedding and towels with someone infected. Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever and fatigue.

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

As of Tuesday, there are more than 800 cases of monkeypox in California. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency Monday in response to the increase of monkeypox cases in the state.

A virtual townhall presented by the NAACP San Diego Branch will be held Friday, August 5 at 6 p.m., doctors will be available to take questions from the public. Click here for more information or to register for the event.

To get updates directly from the county, you can sign up to receive text messages by texting COSD MONKEYPOX to 468-311 or visit the county's monkeypox website.