Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health have announced a local emergency response to monkeypox.
The declaration will strengthen the City’s preparedness and response to the rapidly rising cases of monkeypox, and expedite and streamline the availability of resources, according to the press release.
The declaration of a local emergency is a legal action that will mobilize City resources and raise awareness throughout San Francisco about how everyone can stop the spread of monkeypox, and goes into effect on Monday August 1.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” said Mayor London Breed. “We know that this virus impacts everyone equally – but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”
Currently, SFDPH has confirmed 261 cases of monkeypox in San Francisco. There are reportedly 799 cases in California, over 4,600 cases in the United States, and more than 19,000 cases globally (in 76 countries).
“We need to be prepared and this declaration will allow us to serve the city better,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “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.”
Demand for vaccine remains high and additional supply is needed to stop community spread. San Francisco is expected to receive 4,220 doses of vaccine.
While the virus impacts all people, data shows significant spread in San Francisco’s LGTBQ community at higher rates. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can be infected and spread monkeypox. The local emergency declaration will also provide adequate support for San Francisco’s LGTBQ population.
“I am grateful to our Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip for declaring this State of Emergency,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “In the face of a frustratingly slow federal response, it is all the more important that we be able to mobilize all available local resources to get vaccines into arms as quickly and equitably as possible.”
The City has been working diligently to increase the implementation of testing, treatment, and vaccine distribution in response to the spread of the Monkeypox virus. San Francisco has a significant number of Monkeypox cases and lacks sufficient vaccine supply for the number of people in need. SFDPH will continue to request additional vaccine allocations from the state and distribute to community clinics, health systems, and other locations where they are needed.
Additionally, SFDPH is also reaching out to communities to raise awareness and education about monkeypox, the City’s response, and ensure clinicians remain well informed about testing, infection control, and management of monkeypox as the health emergency develops.
Monkeypox spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which includes sex, kissing, breathing at very close range, and sharing bedding and clothing. SFDPH recommends these preventative measures to reduce risk of infection:
- Consider limiting opportunities that put you in close skin-to-skin contact with others
- Stay home if you do not feel well and encourage your friends to do the same
- Call your doctor if you are experiencing a rash or sores
- Talk with your sexual partners about yours and their health
If you have symptoms:
- Talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
- Avoid sharing your bed while you have the rash
- Do your best to keep a healthy distance from others
To find additional guidance on monkeypox, including local case counts, and updates about vaccine supply, please visit this page.