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Riverside County declares monkeypox public health emergency

ABC 7 Los Angeles logo ABC 7 Los Angeles 8/9/2022 KABC
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A health emergency has been declared in Riverside County due to the growing number of monkeypox cases.

Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung signed the proclamation Tuesday and the Board of Supervisors has seven days to ratify the action.

Health officials say the move will shift their focus on the virus that quickly spread throughout the county.

"We have seen the devastating physical effects of monkeypox on those who have been infected, as well as the emotional toll on partners, family and loved ones," said Leung. "Now is the time for Public Health, our community partners and local leadership to reinforce our commitment to work together to slow and eventually stop the spread of this virus."

There have been 59 probable/confirmed cases of monkeypox cases in Riverside County.

Officials said there have been a handful of patients who have been briefly hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

Leung said the move could also help as local officials lobby for additional vaccines, which has been in limited supply.

Riverside County is also working with community partners to provide the antiviral medication Tecovirimat (TPOXX) for infected patients who are at higher risk of severe disease from monkeypox.

The county says right now, most patients have not required TPOXX and symptoms have resolved on their own.

MORE: Everything you need to know about monkeypox infection, vaccines, more

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