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San Francisco officials have declared a public health emergency as cases of monkeypox rise in the city.
The office of Mayor London Breed (D) said in a release that the declaration, which will go into effect on Monday, will strengthen the city’s preparedness and responses, along with expediting and streamlining available resources to address the virus.
The release stated that the San Francisco Department of Public Health had confirmed more than 260 cases of monkeypox, making up almost a third of the nearly 800 cases in California.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” Breed said. “We know that this virus impacts everyone equally — but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”
So far, the virus has spread the most among men who have sex with men, but it can infect anyone who has extended skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.
The mayor’s office also said that the city is expected to receive more than 4,200 doses of a monkeypox vaccine this week after getting 12,000 doses so far. But the city had initially requested 35,000 doses.
San Francisco has been working to increase the implementation of testing, treatment and vaccine distribution but lacks sufficient vaccine resources, according to the release.
“Our COVID-19 response has taught us that it is imperative that we mobilize city resources,” Director of Health Grant Colfax said. “The declaration helps us ensure we have all the tools available to augment our outreach, testing and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for Monkeypox.”
The public health department is reaching out to communities to raise awareness about the virus and the city’s response and ensure clinicians are informed about testing and management of the virus.