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LA County Board of Supervisors issues proclamation of local emergency amid rising Monkeypox cases

Board of Supervisors set to issue proclamation of local emergency
Board of Supervisors set to issue proclamation of local emergency 02:53

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has issued a proclamation of local emergency amid rising Monkeypox cases, following suit with California Governor Gavin Newsom's similar declaration on Monday. 

In a statement released to the public, Supervisor Holly Mitchell said:

"This proclamation is critical in helping us get ahead of this virus. By declaring a local emergency, it allows us to cut through the 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 to take the necessary efforts to obtain supplies and enhance outreach and awareness."

The board will vote later Tuesday to ratify the proclamation. 

Upon ratification, they will request recovery assistance under the California Disaster Assistance Act "and that the State expedite access to State and federal resources and any other appropriate federal disaster relief programs." The Board of Supervisors will also direct county departments to implement all assessment, assistance and monitoring efforts as applicable.

"I'm hopeful this will help vaccination efforts and ultimately help slow the spread of this virus," said Supervisor Janice Hahn in a tweet on Monday.

As of Tuesday, L.A. County has identified at least 400 cases of monkeypox — nearly double the number from a week ago. 

City officials in West Hollywood said that a pop-up monkeypox vaccination clinic is set to open Wednesday at the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, and remain open Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  for the month of August. Appointments could be made via the portal on L.A. County Department of Health's website.

West Hollywood City Council member John Erickson said that the decision to declare an emergency is a game changer, and could make things a lot easier for those in Los Angeles.

"People are driving hours to go get their vaccine, waiting long in line in the sun," he said, noting that the new process could bring an influx of vaccine doses to the community.

Brian Treitler was one of the first local residents to have received a vaccination in recent weeks, after learning of the struggle that his friend in Texas had while coping with monkeypox.

"The effects of it are very scary," he said. "When I saw the sores and the whole process, it takes about a month for it to heal and clear up."

On Monday, Gov. Newsom issued a statewide declaration of emergency in hopes of bolstering local efforts for monkeypox vaccinations. 

His statement read, in part:

"California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that those most at risk are our focus for vaccines, treatments and outreach. We'll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community fighting stigmatization."

After Newsom's proclamation, Supervisor Kathryn Barger released an additional statement which noted that the county "needs to
draw down all the support available to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and resources to those at risk and suffering from this terrible disease. I will work to ensure we're doing so quickly and efficiently. We don't have any time to waste."

In California, there are at least 824 confirmed cases of monkeypox, which is the second-highest of any state behind only New York's 1,390. Throughout the United States, there are 5,811, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York has also issued a declaration of emergency in light of their increasing cases, as has the City of San Francisco. 

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