Newsom declares state of emergency in CA for monkeypox, plans to amp up response

ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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Gov. Newsom declared the monkeypox virus a state of emergency, with plans to amp up the state's response to testing, vaccinations and outreach.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency to bolster California's response to the monkeypox virus, including testing, vaccines and public outreach.

The declaration in California came after a similar one in New York state on Saturday, and in San Francisco on Thursday.

"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 in a press release.

"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."

RELATED: Monkeypox: Everything you need to know about origin, infection, vaccines, and treatment

The proclamation allows Emergency Medical Services personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA. This is similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines.

The state said its strategies built during the COVID-19 pandemic helped lay the groundwork for its monkeypox response.

What this announcement doesn't do is getting more vaccines to California.

"It won't increase the number of vaccine doses that we receive. That is determined solely by the federal government," said Senator Scott Wiener.

On Monday, Senator Scott Wiener sent a letter to Governor Newsom along with other senators asking for $38.5 million to help counties across the state respond to this virus as vaccines arrive.

"When counties have to set up vaccine clinics to administer the vaccine. They have to pay staff, they have to pay for the site, and they have to pay for the outreach to make sure people know about it. They have to pay for some of the supply other than the vaccine supplies themselves," said Senator Wiener.

So far California has administered 25,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccines and plans to acquire more in the coming days and weeks and will also amp up its testing in partnership with local laboratories.

The state also said that access to the antiviral prescription drug to treat monkeypox, tecovirimat (TPOXX), is still limited, but the treatment can now be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state.

VIDEO: San Francisco declares local public health emergency over monkeypox amid rise in cases

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, which can include hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as through the sharing of bedding, towels and clothing. People getting sick so far have mainly been men who have sex with men, though health officials note that the virus can infect anyone.

The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful, and they can prevent swallowing or bowel movements if in the throat or anus.

According to the CDC, California has recorded 827 cases of monkeypox so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.