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California declares a state of emergency over Monkeypox: What does it mean?

As monkeypox cases grow Governor Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency.

As monkeypox cases grow Governor Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency.
Genaro MolinaGetty

As cases of monkeypox rise across the country, New York, Illinois, and now California have declared a state of emergency.

When making the announcement, Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about efforts ongoing across the state to slow the spread.

“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,” said Newsom.

Declaring a state of emergency allows the Governor to increase response resources, including allowing more medical professionals to administer the FDA-approved vaccine, Jynneos, used to prevent smallpox and monkeypox.

How many cases are there in California?

On 25 July, the CDC reported 439 monkeypox cases nationwide –more than ever before. These additional cases bring the national total to 5,811.

California’s case total hit 837 on the day the declaration was made, meaning that cases in the Golden State make up around fourteen percent of all cases nationally.

Counties with the highest number of cases include:

  1. Los Angeles: 261
  2. San Francisco: 257
  3. Alameda: 50
  4. Santa Clara: 41
  5. Sacramento: 34.

Patient profile in California

The state’s health agency also released data showing that eleven people have been hospitalized, and seventy-four percent of cases are occurring in those between twenty-five and forty-four percent.

Additionally, ninety-eight percent of confirmed cases have occurred in men, and ninety-one percent of patients so far identify as gay. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and everyone faces a risk. Currently, the disease is spreading in this community, but that does not mean it won’t begin to affect others if it is given more time to influence people and mutate.

“We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community in fighting stigmatization, said Newsom.

Declaring a state of emergency will also allow the state to work to increase vaccine distribution within the LGBTQ+ community across the state. The state currently has the capacity to conduct 1,000 tests a week and is working to improve those numbers. The state has 61,000 vaccines and will be distributed to counties based on a “number of factors, including the number of reported monkeypox cases in an area and estimate of at-risk populations.”


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