Gov. Newsom declares state of emergency due to monkeypox outbreak

California Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a news conference after taking a tour of the site of a behavioral health and transitional housing facility in Los Angeles County on Jan. 31, 2022. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in order to increase vaccination efforts in “response to the monkeypox outbreak” on Aug. 1.

“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 news release

According to the emergency proclamation, more than 20,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported globally, with 786 probable cases in California.

Fresno currently has two “probable and confirmed monkeypox cases” as of July 28, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Two monkeypox vaccines are available in the United States: Jynneos and ACAM2000. California is allocating a limited number of Jynneos vaccines, according to the CDPH. 

Over 25,000 vaccine doses have been distributed to date, with additional allocations being made according to the governor’s news release.

A person with monkeypox can experience flu-like symptoms, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and body aches. They may also develop rashes or sores on or near the genitals or anus, but can be found on other areas including the hands, feet, chest and face, according to the CDPH.

Monkeypox can be transmitted through prolonged and direct skin-to-skin contact, intimacy and sharing of towels, bedding or clothing.

The CDPH said that it is important to be alert of public health outbreaks but “the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low.”   

Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer, said stigma among the LGBTQ+ community has emerged due to the outbreak as many recent cases in 2022 have been among persons identifying as men who have sex with men.

The CDPH reports that 91.7% of cases to date have been among same-sex sexual orientations, and notes that anyone can be infected with monkeypox.

“No single individual or community is to blame for the spread of any virus. Monkeypox can affect anyone as it spreads by skin-to-skin contact, as well as from sharing items like clothing, bedding and towels,” Aragón said in a news release.

California has expanded monkeypox testing capacity to more than 1,000 tests per week as of July 27, and treatment can be administered at more than 30 facilities across the state, according to Newsom.

More information and updates on monkeypox in California can be found on the CDPH website.

This story will be updated.

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