Board of Supervisors to Ratify Local Monkeypox Emergency

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
August 2, 2022Updated: August 2, 2022

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set Aug. 2 to ratify a local emergency declaration in response to the monkeypox outbreak.

Board Chair Holly Mitchell issued a proclamation late Aug. 1 declaring the emergency in Los Angeles County, where 400 monkeypox cases have been identified so far—nearly double the amount from a week ago.

“This proclamation is critical in helping us get ahead of this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to cut through the 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 quickly administer vaccines as more become available and to take the necessary efforts to obtain supplies and enhance outreach and awareness.”

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

The Board of Supervisors will also direct county departments to implement all assessment, assistance, and monitoring efforts as applicable.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency for California Monday in response to the increase of monkeypox cases in the state. New York and Illinois also issued an emergency declaration, as has San Francisco.

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

“I’m hopeful this will help vaccination efforts and ultimately help slow the spread of this virus,” Hahn wrote.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement that the county “needs to draw down all the support available to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk and suffering from this terrible disease. I will work to ensure we’re doing so quickly and efficiently. We don’t have any time to waste.”

As of Monday, a total of 824 monkeypox cases were confirmed in California—the second highest of any state, behind New York’s 1,390—while nationwide, the aggregate count was at 5,811, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus, according to the CDC.

There were roughly 400 cases in Los Angeles County as of Monday, primarily in homosexual men.

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. It can also be transmitted through contaminated 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 have been vaccinated for it, may have immunity to monkeypox.

According to health officials, the vaccine can prevent infection if given before or shortly after exposure to the virus.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to lobby federal health officials for more monkeypox vaccine supplies and boosted funding for testing and administration of the shots.

The county has been slowly expanding eligibility for the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine, but supplies remain extremely limited.