As orthopoxvirus, or monkeypox, cases continue to rise throughout the country, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency to support California’s response to the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control, as of Monday there were a confirmed 5,811 cases of Monkeypox in the U.S. with 827 cases in California, the second largest number of cases in the nation.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed 400 cases of monkeypox, of the 827 total cases in California. As part of the state’s ongoing response to the monkeypox outbreak, Newsom’s state of emergency aims to bolster vaccination efforts against the virus.
“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,” Newsom said in a released statement.
California will work with federal agencies to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization, he added.
In an effort to expand vaccination efforts, the proclamation enables Emergency Medical Services personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are approved by the FDA, similar to the statutory authorization recently enacted for pharmacists to administer vaccines.
According to Newsom, the state’s response to monkeypox builds on the infrastructure developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to deploy vaccine clinics and ensure inclusive outreach in partnership with local and community-based organizations.
In concurrence with Newsom’s proclamation, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, 5th District, released a statement supporting Newsom’s actions in order to slow and prevent the spread of monkeypox.
“Now that the governor has declared a statewide emergency, our 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,” Barger said in a released statement.
“I will work to ensure we’re doing so quickly and efficiently. We don’t have any time to waste.”
Last month, California public health leaders urged federal partners to make more vaccine doses available to the state as quickly as possible to expand eligibility to both confirmed and probable exposures, and to individuals who are at high-risk of contracting the virus.
According to Newsom’s office, California has received more than 61,000 doses of TPOXX, the antiviral prescription drug tecovirimat, which is used to treat monkeypox. In the coming days and weeks, California will be distributing more doses of TPOXX to local health departments, mobile clinics and other health service providers.
The state allocates doses to its partners based on a number of factors, including the number of reported monkeypox cases in an area and estimate of at-risk populations.
As of July 28, the state expanded testing capacity to process more than 1,000 tests a week and public health laboratory leaders are working alongside partners to ensure testing capacity is increasingly available, according to Newsom’s office.
TPOXX is administered at more than 30 facilities and provider across the state. Additionally, state officials continue outreach and education efforts to inform Californians about monkeypox and ways to limit its spread.