NEW YORK (WKBW) — In response to an increase in monkeypox cases and local health departments responding to the outbreak, the New York State Department of Health has declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health.
The declaration allows local health departments to access additional state reimbursement, after other federal and state funding sources are maximized, as they engage in response and prevention.
New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett released the following statement:
"Based on the ongoing spread of this virus, which has increased rapidly and affected primarily communities that identify as men who have sex with men, and the need for local jurisdictions to administer vaccines, I’ve declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health throughout New York State. This declaration means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional State reimbursement, after other Federal and State funding sources are maximized, to protect all New Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities.”
The declaration covers monkeypox prevention response and activities from June 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022.
The NYSDOH released the following information on monkeypox:
Anyone can get monkeypox, which is primarily spread through close, physical contact between people. The current global outbreak looks to be driven by exposure related to intimate, sexual contact. Certain populations currently are more affected than others, including men who have sex with men. Previous outbreak experience elsewhere suggests that the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant people and children under 8 years of age may be at heightened risk for severe outcomes.
All New Yorkers can protect themselves and prevent the spread of monkeypox in their communities:
- Ask sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
- Contact a healthcare provider following exposure or symptoms, and check with your local county health department about vaccine eligibility.
- New Yorkers who receive the JYNNEOS vaccine should receive both doses, given four-weeks apart, and stay vigilant until fully vaccinated, two weeks following the second dose.
- If you or your healthcare provider suspect you may have monkeypox, isolate at home. If you can, stay in a separate area from other family members and pets.
- Follow reputable sources of health information, including NYSDOH, CDC, and your local county health department.
There are now 1,341 monkeypox cases statewide, the majority are in the NYC area. Five of them are in Western New York with four cases in Erie County and one in Niagara County. The first case of monkeypox in the Western New York region came on July 13 when the Erie County Department of Health announced monkeypox was detected in an Erie County resident.
You can find more information on monkeypox on the New York State Department of Health website here.