L.A. County declares Monkeypox a ‘local emergency’

Registered Nurse Trish Thuy Mai of Carbon Health prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at an all-day, pop-up vaccination site organized by Assembywoman Suzette Valladares which was held at American Family Funding in Valencia on Saturday, 0711721. Dan Watson/The Signal

A day after the state of California made a similar declaration of its own, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors announced a “Proclamation of Local Emergency” in response to monkeypox.  

The total number of suspected monkeypox cases in L.A. County, as of Tuesday, has reached 423, an increase of more than 80% since last week.  

According to L.A. County officials, the proclamation is critical in helping the county overcome the latest virus affecting local residents.  

“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,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell in a statement distributed on Monday. “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 orthopoxvirus, or monkeypox, cases continue to rise throughout the country — 827 of whom are in California alone — Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency to support California’s response to the virus on Monday. 

“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 prepared statement.  

California will work with federal agencies to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization regarding the high proliferation of the virus within the LGBTQ community, he added.  

“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,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a prepared statement.   

“I will work to ensure we’re doing so quickly and efficiently. We don’t have any time to waste.” 

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health announced it had expanded the criteria to include additional residents at high risk of exposure to monkeypox and launched a pop-up vaccination location in West Hollywood for those who have pre-registered and booked an appointment at that location. 

For more information on monkeypox, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/monkeypox.  

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