SACRAMENTO, CA. (AP) – California’s governor on Monday became the second state in three days to declare a state of emergency to speed up efforts to combat monkeypox.
Gov. According to Gavin Newsom, the declaration will help California coordinate the government’s overall response, seek more vaccines and educate people about where they can get treatment and vaccinations.
“We will continue to work with the federal government to provide more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction, and fight stigmatization of the LGBTQ community,” Newsom said in a statement announcing his declaration.
California has reported about 800 cases of monkeypox, according to state health officials.
The monkeypox virus has prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, and is spread by hugging, petting and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. So far, those who have gotten sick have mostly been men who have sex with men, but health officials note that the virus can infect anyone.
“Public health officials are clear: stigma is unacceptable and detrimental to public health,” said Michele Gibbons, executive director of the California State Health Association. “Monkeypox is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and sharing items such as sheets or towels, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within a few weeks. But the sores and blisters caused by the virus are painful and can prevent you from swallowing or drinking if it’s in the anus.
The California declaration follows a similar announcement in New York state on Saturday, and on Thursday in San Francisco. The Newsom administration said Friday it was too early for such a declaration.
After Newsom was asked to make such a statement, the Democratic state senator. Scott Wiener of San Francisco applauded the governor’s decision.
“Monkeypox is an emergency and we need to use every tool we have to control it,” Wiener said.
Newsom announcement allows emergency medical personnel to administer federally approved rabies vaccines.
That’s similar to a recent law that allowed pharmacists to administer vaccines, the Newsom administration said. It says the state’s response will be based on steps designed to set up vaccination clinics during the coronavirus pandemic and, in collaboration with local and community organizations, to educate vulnerable populations.
California has received more than 61,000 doses of the vaccine and distributed 25,000 doses.
“We have no time to waste,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement. He said the country’s most populous county should use all resources to speed up the distribution of vaccines and help those infected.
Newsom’s office said Los Angeles County has distributed the vaccine separately.
As of last week, the state had expanded its testing capacity to more than 1,000 tests per week. Critics say the long wait for test results delays treatment.
In San Francisco, Peter Tran was among hundreds of people who lined up for hours Monday at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital to receive the monkeypox vaccine after the clinic was forced to close last week because it did not receive enough doses.
“It’s dangerous. This is a vaccine that has been around for a long time. It is not even a fatal disease. It is more difficult to transmit than COVID. But the spread of vaccines in this country is very dangerous,” said Tran.
“I think the science shows that vaccine protection is significantly improved. That’s why I’m doing it. To be honest, I don’t want my body to hurt. I’ve heard that wounds hurt and scar. So I think that’s another motivation to go out and get it.”
Before declaring a state of emergency on its own last week, San Francisco city officials were criticized for not responding quickly enough to the outbreak. They, in turn, blamed the federal government for failing to supply enough vaccines. The city received about 4,000 doses on Friday, allowing it to resume vaccinations and hopes to have them administered by midweek, Dr. Luke John Day, Zuckerberg, is chief physician at San Francisco General Hospital.
As of Monday, 305 cases were registered in the city, he said.
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of monkeypox in more than 70 countries a global emergency.
Associated Press videographer Terry Chea contributed from San Francisco.