ALBANY, NY – New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency on Friday night due to the continued spread of monkeypox, followed by a declaration of a public health emergency in New York on Saturday. .
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Hochul’s statement, which she said would provide a faster response and more efficient vaccine distribution, came a day after the New York State Health Commissioner declared monkeypox a “imminent threat to public health,” NBC News reported.
“I am declaring a state disaster emergency to bolster our ongoing efforts to deal with the monkeypox outbreak,” Hochul tweeted Friday.
The executive order specifically expands the pool of eligible people who can administer monkeypox vaccines, including emergency medical services personnel, pharmacists and midwives. It also allows doctors and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient-specific standing orders for vaccines and requires vendors to send vaccine data to the state health department, according to The Journal News.
Hochul also noted that more than a quarter of all monkeypox cases diagnosed in the United States are concentrated in New York, affecting “at-risk groups” at a disproportionate rate.
Monkeypox typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes before progressing to a rash or lesions on the body, extremities and genitals, NBC News reported.
Most infections last two to four weeks, KSDK reported.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Early data suggests that gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men account for a high number of cases. However, anyone who has had contact close contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk.”
As of 2 p.m. Friday, New York had confirmed 1,345 cases of monkeypox, followed by California with 799 and Illinois with 419, according to the CDC. Cases in the United States totaled 5,189.
According to The Journal News, 780,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine were distributed on Friday, with about 110,000 shipped to New York, including 30,000 doses to be administered outside New York.
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, have declared a city-specific public health emergency.
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