The monkeypox outbreak has prompted officials to declare a local public health emergency in San Francisco.
Mayor London Breed said the declaration will begin Monday and allows the city to prepare and allocate resources to prevent the spread of the virus.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” Breed said in a statement. “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.”
San Francisco Department of Public Health reported the city’s first monkeypox infection on June 3. The city now has over 260 confirmed cases, officials said.
Officials are expected to provide further updates during a 5 pm news briefing at San Francisco City Hall. Check back here to watch a livestream of the update.
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, praised city officials for the declaration, which came one day after he called for both the city and state to declare states of emergency over the ongoing outbreak.
“San Francisco was at the forefront of the public health responses to HIV and COVID-19, and we will be at the forefront when it comes to monkeypox,” Wiener said in a statement. “We can’t and won’t leave the LGTBQ community out to dry.”
Meanwhile, monkeypox vaccines continue to be in short supply in San Francisco and across the Bay Area.
The vaccine clinic at San Francisco’s Zuckerberg General Hospital was closed Wednesday because it had no doses available. The clinic is expected to reopen Monday.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Thursday it has received 4,220 doses of the monkeypox vaccine that will be going to clinics throughout the city.
Monkeypox is generally spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact or bodily fluids. State and federal health officials have stressed that the virus is not airborne like COVID-19 or the flu.
Symptoms can include a rash or sores on the skin anywhere on a patient’s body. Contraction of the virus often begins with flu-like symptoms, with a rash or sores often appearing within one to three days.
While many cases have been confirmed among men who identify as gay or bisexual, health experts have stressed that the virus is not exclusive to men who have sex with men, and anyone can contract monkeypox regardless of their sexual orientation.
To date, monkeypox cases have also been reported in Alameda, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Solano and Marin counties.
Information from state public health officials about the monkeypox outbreak, including prevention methods and eligibility criteria for vaccination, can be found at cdph.ca.gov.
San Francisco-specific information regarding monkeypox testing, treatment and other resources can be found at sf.gov.
The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Local experts explain how this is an alert to prevent another pandemic. Stephanie Magallon reports.
Bay City News contributed to this report