New York State, San Francisco Declare Monkeypox Emergencies


Public health officials made the decision after seeing increasing incidence rates.


Update, 8/1/22: New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a local state of emergency due to the monkeypox outbreak.

“As the monkeypox outbreak continues to grow in New York City and across the country, I am today issuing an emergency executive order declaring a local state of emergency. New York City now has over 1200 reported cases, approximately 25 percent of cases nationally, and we are continuing to see the numbers rise," Adams said in a statement. "This order will bolster our existing efforts to educate, vaccinate, test, and treat as many New Yorkers as possible and ensure a whole-of-government response to this outbreak. In partnership with federal, state, and local officials we will continue to respond with the urgency required to keep people safe and this order is another tool to help us do so.”

According to the statement, this emergency executive order allows the mayor to suspend local laws, and enact rules, as necessary, to protect the well-being and health of all New Yorkers. The separate public health declaration of emergency issued on Saturday by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) allows DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan to issue commissioner’s orders amending provisions of the New York City Health Code to protect public health and slow the spread.

New York State

Monkeypox incidence rates continue to grow prompting New York State to declare monkeypox an "Imminent Threat to Public Health" and the city of San Francisco declared the virus a public health emergency.

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics provided on July 29, there were 5189 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases in the US.

New York State alone accounted for 1345 cases, and the state of California had 799.

"Based on the ongoing spread of this virus, which has increased rapidly and affected primarily communities that identify as men who have sex with men, and the need for local jurisdictions to administer vaccines, I've declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health throughout New York State," NY State Commissioner of Health Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, said in a statement. "This declaration means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional State reimbursement, after other Federal and State funding sources are maximized, to protect all New Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities."

New York has secured more than 60,000 doses of the JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine to date, including those for New York City.

According to the New York State press release, officials said all New Yorkers can protect themselves and prevent the spread of monkeypox in their communities:

  • Ask sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
  • Contact a healthcare provider following exposure or symptoms, and check with your local county health department about vaccine eligibility.
  • New Yorkers who receive the JYNNEOS vaccine should receive both doses, given four-weeks apart, and stay vigilant until fully vaccinated, two weeks following the second dose.
  • If you or your healthcare provider suspect you may have monkeypox, isolate at home. If you can, stay in a separate area from other family members and pets.
  • Follow reputable sources of health information, including NYSDOH, CDC, and your local county health department.

San Francisco

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) also declared a local emergency to strengthen the city’s preparedness and response to the rapidly rising cases of monkeypox. This announcement happened last Friday and they reported 261 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the city.

“We need to be prepared and this declaration will allow us to serve the city better,” said Director of Health Grant Colfax, MD, said in a statement. “Our COVID-19 response has taught us that it is imperative that we mobilize city resources. 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.”

San Francisco is expected to receive 4220 doses of the monkeypox vaccine. SFDPH initially requested 35,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine to meet the needs of people in the city. Including this latest allocation, San Francisco has received approximately 12,000 doses.

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