Monday, March 20, 2023

NYS Declares Disaster Emergency for Monkeypox

New York State has declared itself a State Disaster Emergency in response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak. Governor Kathy Hochul issued the Executive Order declaration yesterday afternoon.

As of yesterday afternoon, Orange County has confirmed two cases of the monkeypox virus. Adjacent Rockland and Dutchess Counties have three cases apiece while Sullivan County has one confirmed case. The statewide total, excluding New York City, is currently 80 cases. According to data provided by the New York State Department of Health, a majority of the patients infected outside of New York City are Hispanic and white gay males between ages 25 and 39 years old. There are no confirmed cases involving females in the state outside of New York City.

“More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond,” Hochul explained. “It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups.”

The Executive Order specifically extends the pool of eligible individuals who can administer monkeypox vaccines, including EMS personnel, pharmacists and midwives; allows physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non patient specific standing orders for vaccines; and requires providers to send vaccine data to the New York State Department of Health. 

Recently, New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health (ITPH) in New York State. Earlier this month, NYSDOH launched a text message notification effort to deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can sign up for text messages—which will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread, and resources for testing and vaccination—by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336 or “MONKEYPOXESP” for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.  

The New York State Department of Health continues attempts to distribute vaccines to communities. Local county health departments that have received supply are administering the vaccine directly and establishing their own appointment processes. Working in partnership with counties, New Yorkers who sign-up for location-based alerts may receive alerts on vaccine availability, clinic locations, scheduling, and other monkeypox-related updates specific to their area. 

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