MINNEAPOLIS -- There are now a total of 58 cases of monkeypox in Minnesota, as the national tally for the virus inches closer to 10,000 total infections.
Almost all of the cases are found in men living in the Twin Cities, according to Minnesota Department of Health, who held a press briefing Wednesday morning.
Health officials emphasized that the virus is not geared towards one sexual orientation, race, or gender. Most cases come from direct, prolonged skin to skin contact.
Still, health officials say most cases involve instances of men having sex with other men.
"If you are unaware of the current health status of the individual that you're having close contact with, that increases your risk," said Dr. Nicholas Lehnertz of MDH. "It's imperative that there is no skin to skin direct prolonged skin to skin contact with individuals who have symptoms that are consistent with monkeypox."
Minnesota health officials say they have moved to phase three of vaccine distribution, with 6,000 vials allocated for the state. Of those 6,000 vials, 4,500 have arrived at clinics throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
Under the Centers for Disease Control's latest emergency use authorization, the vaccine is approved for intradermal use, meaning each vial can produce up to five vaccine doses.
Health officials say they are prioritizing vaccine access for groups at the highest risk.
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