Los Angeles County decides to declare local monkeypox emergency

A day after California declared a state of emergency due to the growing outbreak of monkeypox, the chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency due to the disease.

Holly J. Mitchell issued the emergency declaration early Tuesday to “strengthen the county’s response to this outbreak,” according to a news release.

Monkeypox cases in LA County have more than doubled in the past 10 days to 400 on Monday, according to county health department counts of confirmed and suspected cases. The majority of cases have been confirmed in men who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, according to county statistics.

The outbreak in California — and around the world — continues to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men, as well as transgender and non-binary people, though anyone can catch the virus through contact close skin-to-skin or through tissue that has touched the virus. On Thursday, San Francisco declared a state of emergency as cases continue to spread there.

There is an approved and effective vaccine that can be used preventively or after exposure, although it remains in short supply. The lack of availability has led to growing frustration and long waiting lists for the vaccine, especially among LGBTQ communities who remain most at risk.

“This proclamation is essential to help us get ahead of this virus,” Mitchell said in a statement. “By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to cut red tape to better dedicate resources and educate residents on how to protect themselves and help stop the spread. It will also allow the county to quickly administer vaccines as more become available and make the necessary efforts to secure supplies and improve outreach and awareness.

Council will vote later Tuesday morning to ratify the proclamation.

Los Angeles Times

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