LA County declares local emergency, aimed at slowing spread of outbreak – Daily News

Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are hoping their local emergency declaration on Tuesday, Aug. 2 will help the public health department gain control of an emerging outbreak of monkeypox. According to the CDC, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting the virus.

Related: What you need to know about monkeypox in LA County

Proposed as a proclamation by Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and approved by a 5-0 vote, the emergency is designed to help the county secure state and federal resources, including supplemental doses of vaccines, which have been in short supply for the last few weeks.

“Declaring the local emergency allows the county to more effectively respond to monkeypox, expedite the delivery of vital supplies, seek and utilize mutual aid, and potentially obtain reimbursement and assistance from the state and federal government,” reads the emergency declaration.

Pharmacist Michelle Huynh, left, prepares to deliver a monkeypox vaccine to Eric Tooley, right, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in San Jose. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

A copy was sent to the governor’s office of emergency services and came on the heels of Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency for California passed Monday night.

Newsom’s proclamation allows emergency medical services personnel to administer monkeypox vaccines that are FDA-approved, similar to the recently enacted legal authorization for pharmacists to administer vaccines. LA County’s declaration was the second in the state among local entities; Last week, San Francisco declared its own state of emergency. The Bay Area city’s caseload has topped 300 so far.

LA County has been hit hard by the outbreak and local officials say their resources to fight the virus are severely limited.

“We have, we don’t have enough vaccines,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, told supervisors during a Tuesday briefing. The county administered nearly 24,000 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine over the weekend through Monday, she said.

The county received 48,120 new doses from federal authorities, Dr. Rita Singhal, chief medical officer for the county health department, reported Tuesday. The county is preparing to expand availability in the coming weeks as more doses arrive. The county’s portal for vaccine registration was suspended Tuesday as the county prepares to administer another round of doses at public vaccination sites.

Those initially eligible are gay, bisexual, and transgender people diagnosed with gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past 12 months or those on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); or those who frequented or worked in a commercial sex venue or other location where they had anonymous or multiple-partner sex (eg, saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs) in the past 21 days .

The county has recorded more than 400 cases of monkeypox as of August 1, said Adam Cohen of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This is most likely the tip of the iceberg,” he testified at the supervisors’ meeting. He also pointed to a need for around $10 million to combat a growing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the county.

Amid rising infections, LA County also confirmed local transmission of the orthopoxvirus, noting that some patients had no known recent travel history. But public health officials insisted in an online briefing on Friday that the risk of infection in the general population remains extremely low.

On Tuesday, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Department of Health) confirmed a suspected case of monkeypox infection in a child. Preliminary test results indicate the child tested positive for the orthopoxvirus, but this has not yet been confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a reminder that anyone, regardless of age or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox if they come into contact with the virus,” the Long Beach Health Department warned. “With children, people are advised to minimize the number of caregivers and limit interactions between siblings, including sharing toys, clothes, linens and bedding. It is also important for the infected person to limit interactions with pets at home. »

“While news of a pediatric case may be alarming, remember that monkeypox is still rare, is much harder to get than COVID-19 and other common childhood illnesses, and is rarely dangerous,” said Long Beach City health officer Dr. Anissa. Davis in a prepared statement.

Long Beach is now considering declaring its own public health emergency, Health Department Representative Jennifer Rice Epstein said in an Aug. 2 email.

Also on Tuesday, the city of Pasadena, which like Long Beach operates its own independent public health department, confirmed its first cases of monkeypox.

All four cases were adults and were under observation, officials said.

The Pasadena Public Health Department is in discussions about a possible health emergency, according to Lisa Derderian, public information officer.

On Monday, a total of 824 cases of monkeypox were confirmed in California – the second highest of any state, behind New York’s 1,390 – while nationwide the total number was 5,811, according to the latest data from the CDC. The LA County Public Health website posted 423 cases Tuesday, the highest level among counties in the state.

“Monkey pox can be spread through close or prolonged skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact, including between household members. This can include hugging, kissing, cuddling, holding and feeding. It can also spread through contaminated materials, such as cups, bedding, clothing, towels and utensils,” the Long Beach Health Department said in a news release.

Symptoms can typically include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that may look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, such as the hands. , feet, chest, genitals or anus.

There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox or who have been vaccinated against it may be immune to monkeypox, according to the CDC.

“This is a serious health issue that requires support and prompt action,” Supervisor Mitchell said. “It’s not a sexually transmitted infection – it’s spread through close contact. Others, like nannies, massage therapists, tattoo artists and home care workers need to stay educated and protected.

Editors Brennon Dixson and Kristy Hutchings contributed to this report.

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