The monkeypox outbreak prompted authorities to declare a local public health emergency in San Francisco.
The Mayor of London Breed said the declaration will begin on Monday and will allow the city to prepare and allocate resources to prevent the spread of the virus.
“San Francisco has shown during COVID that early action is essential to protect public health,” Breed said in a statement. “We know this virus affects everyone equally – but we also know that members of our LGBTQ community are at higher 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 vulnerable, while better preparing us for what is to come.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health reported the city’s first monkeypox infection on June 3. The city now has more than 260 confirmed cases, officials said.
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, praised city officials for the statement, which came a day after calling on the city and state to declare a state of emergency over the outbreak in Classes.
“San Francisco was at the forefront of public health responses to HIV and COVID-19, and we will be at the forefront when it comes to monkeypox,” Wiener said in a statement. “We cannot and will not leave the LGTBQ community dry.”
Meanwhile, monkeypox vaccines continue to be in short supply in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
The vaccination clinic at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco was closed on Wednesday because no doses were available. The clinic is expected to reopen on Monday.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health announced Thursday that it has received 4,220 doses of monkeypox vaccine for distribution at clinics across the city.
Monkeypox is usually spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact or bodily fluids. State and federal health officials have emphasized that the virus is not airborne like COVID-19 or the flu.
Symptoms can include a rash or sores on the skin anywhere on a patient’s body. Contraction of the virus often begins with flu-like symptoms, with a rash or sores often appearing within one to three days.
While many cases have been confirmed in men who identify as gay or bisexual, health experts have stressed that the virus is not exclusive to men who have sex with men and that anyone can contract monkeypox, regardless of sexual orientation.
To date, cases of monkeypox have also been reported in Alameda, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Solano, and Marin counties.
Information from state public health officials on the monkeypox outbreak, including prevention methods and vaccination eligibility criteria, can be found at cdph.ca.gov.
San Francisco-specific information about monkeypox testing, treatment, and other resources are available at sf.gov.
The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Local experts explain how this is an alert to prevent another pandemic. Report by Stephanie Magallon.
Bay City News contributed to this report
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