Monkeypox cases in Riverside County have doubled.
Last Friday, county health officials reported six confirmed and/or probable cases of the virus, but as of Monday morning, the number reached 13.
“All of those cases are male and live within eastern Riverside County and they are between the ages of 30 and 60,” Deputy Public Health Officer for Riverside County, Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, explained. “Fortunately, none of them are currently in the hospital.”
Despite these new numbers, local Dr. Phyllis Ritchie with PS Test believes there are more cases since some are actually confused with other sexually transmitted infections.
“I understand there’s 13 confirmed cases, however I believe that not all the physicians know what to do with monkeypox,” Dr. Ritchie said. “We’re not swabbing patients regularly for monkeypox so we don’t know enough about this, where it can be or who we should swab regularly. It’s a problem. I think it’s way more out of control than we have any idea.”
Which is why, she says, the county needs more help.
“Riverside has been trying to get more vaccine allocation, but it’s not enough,” Dr. Ritchie continued. “The California Department of Public Health needs to take another look at Palm Springs.”
The city of Palm Springs is also asking for change, calling on the CDC and the California Department of Public Health to accelerate the purchase of the vaccine and prioritize distribution to communities already experiencing a high rate of incidents.
In a letter sent to the director of the CDPH, Mayor Lisa Middleton said, “It is imperative that the CDC and the CDPH work quickly to make these and any other necessary adjustments to better meet the demand for vaccines and ensure the threat of monkeypox is mitigated in our communities.”
For now, Riverside County Public Health is doing what they can to stop the spread.
“We continue to advocate to the state for more doses,” Dr. Chevinsky said. “We know that in Riverside County, there are populations where there might be elevated risk. We’re increasing our canvassing activities, so being out in the community and talking about the risk of monkeypox, how it’s contracted, and how to avoid those risks. We’re also continuing to work with our community partners to push out more vaccines based on the allocations that we do get.”
If you are concerned that you might have monkeypox symptoms, public health suggests seeing your healthcare provider and reporting the information to the county.
If you don’t have a provider, reach out to Riverside County Public Health for help.