Monkeypox cases rise to 51 in Riverside County, 9 new cases in Coachella Valley

Riverside University Health System-Public Health reported nine new confirmed/probable cases of monkeypox in the Valley.

The 9 new cases are Coachella Valley men between the ages of 30 and 70.

This brings the total number of cases in Riverside County to 51.

Click here to watch the latest coverage on monkepox.

Biden administration declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday.

The announcement was made during a briefing with the Department of Health and Human Services.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak on August 1.

Since the first US case of monkeypox was identified in mid-May, more than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases have been detected nationwide. Cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming.

Health officials are considering changes to how monkeypox vaccine doses are administered as the country is “at a critical inflection point” with the spread of the virus, the U.S. commissioner told reporters on Thursday. the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Robert Califf.

“In recent days, it has become clear to all of us that given the continued spread of the virus, we are at a critical inflection point, dictating the need for additional solutions to address rising infection rates. “, Califf said. He added that “the goal has always been to vaccinate as many people as possible”.

Palm Springs has launched a monkeypox landing page to help provide information to its residents. Click here to visit the page.

CJ Tobe, director of community health and sexual wellness at DAP Health, said the Palm Springs-based health center is leading the region’s monkeypox response, but resources are low.

“We desperately need more vaccines to get to our most at-risk people in our community right now,” Tobe said. He added, “There are currently 66,000 vaccines that have been administered by the state health department here in California, and DAP Health has only received 657.”

DAP Health is leading the monkeypox response through partnerships. In addition to working with the state and county, he also works with business leaders from the Cathedral City Boys Club and business leaders from the sex tourism industry.

The goal is to determine how they “can provide education, testing and vaccines to those most at risk,” said CJ Tobe, director of community health and sexual wellness at DAP Health.

DAP Health is also partnering with Desert Care District, which does not currently administer the monkeypox vaccine or the antiviral drug TPOXX to patients. He, however, said he requested a vaccine allowance from the county.

Desert Care Network Statement

Eisenhower Health, Borrego Health, and DAP Health are currently the only facilities in the Coachella Valley that administer the monkeypox vaccine.

“We have 657 vaccines available and we would like to have around 60,000 right now, but since we are rationing vaccines because there has been such a response, we need to ensure that these 657 vaccines reach those most at risk. “, said Tobe. .

DAP Health follows CDC guidelines to determine eligibility and administers its limited supply of invitation-only vaccines to 2,000 patients on a waiting list.

“Anyone who has a bacterial sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, is currently being exposed to someone who has tested positive for monkeypox but themselves currently has no symptoms, or to people who practice sex work,” Be said.

He explained that DAP Health had not received any communication from the county explaining whether the federal government’s public health emergency would expedite the delivery of vaccines to DAP Health faster than expected.

“I heard it would take another six to eight weeks before we really have a good supply of vaccines available here in our area,” Tobe said.

Additional cases of monkeypox in the Coachella Valley are increasing demand for the vaccine, however, DAP Health is reminding the public to remain patient until more supplies become available.

“Part of keeping this community safe is ensuring that the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our community have access to these vaccines first,” Tobe said. “We know that 98% of monkeypox cases are men who have sex with men. It’s people having group sex, his sex workers, his massage therapists. So right now, while everything the world wants a vaccine, we don’t have enough to vaccinate everyone who wants one,” Tobe added.

Flu-like symptoms can occur in patients with monkeypox, but “the most classic symptom is a rash,” said Jennifer Chevinsky, MD, deputy public health officer at Riverside County Health.

“If you have a rash that is unfamiliar to you and you are concerned that it is monkeypox, I recommend that you speak with your health care provider to see if your rash should or should not. be tested for monkeypox,” Dr. Chevinsky explained.

Resources

There are several ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:

  • Always tell your sexual partner about any recent illnesses and be aware of any new or unexplained sores or rashes on your or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms such as sores or rashes
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Infected people should self-isolate until their symptoms improve or disappear completely. The rash should always be well covered until it is completely healed.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (such as a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoid contact with infected material contaminated with the virus
  • Avoid contact with infected animals

Monkeypox is usually transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact, resulting in infectious rashes and scabs, although respiratory secretions and bodily fluids exchanged during prolonged physical episodes, such as sexual intercourse, can also lead to transmission. , according to the US Centers for Disease. Control.

Symptoms include fresh pimples, blisters, rashes, fever, and fatigue. There is no specific treatment. People who have been infected with smallpox or who have been vaccinated against it may be immune to monkeypox.

People with symptoms are advised to seek medical attention, cover the area of ​​the rash with clothing, wear a mask, and avoid close or skin-to-skin contact with others.

The CDC especially recommends these steps for people who have recently traveled to an area where cases of monkeypox have been reported or who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of monkeypox.

A full list of countries that have confirmed cases of monkeypox is available at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/monkeypox.
A state-by-state count of cases is available at www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html.

Link: CDC guidance for prevent exposure to Monkeypox.

The Riverside University Health System Public Health website links to a monkeypox vaccine interest form.

Stick with News Channel 3 for continued coverage.

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