Watch CBS News

Oakland County Launching Task Force To Address Monkeypox Outbreak

(CBS DETROIT) -- Oakland County, which is reported to have the highest number of monkeypox cases in Michigan, announced Thursday it is launching a task force in response to the outbreak.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the county has five reported cases as of July 21.

"Oakland County has the largest number of cases of monkeypox in the state of Michigan and the population of individuals most at risk of getting it exceeds our capacity to vaccinate them at the moment," Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said in a press release. "That's why I'm forming a task force to prepare for what may be to come."

Officials say Health Officer Calandra Green will lead the task force. Members include Dr. Paul Benson, medical director of Be Well Medical Center in Berkley, Oakland County Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust, Affirmations Executive Director Dave Garcia, and representatives from Corktown Health in Hazel Park and MDHHS.

Officials say additional task force members may be announced later.

"We are committed to diligently working to contain the spread of monkeypox in Oakland County," Green said. "The community can help by knowing their risks and seeking testing if they experience any symptoms of monkeypox."

The task force will create a communication and education plan about the virus and a strategy for outreach. It will also create a plan to distribute vaccines once they become available.

In the meantime, the county is responding to the outbreak through contact tracing and monitoring.

"We know that the number of cases will increase. I'm urgently calling on the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control to expedite the development and production of the drugs that will help prevent and treat this emerging virus," Coulter said.

The first case identified in Michigan was reported in Oakland County.

Since then, a total of 19 cases have been identified in the state, including in the city of Detroit.

This week, MDHHS announced it was launching a new website to help keep Michiganders up-to-date on cases. The website provides residents with information about the signs and symptoms of monkeypox.

Click here to view the website and cases by county.

© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.