Nine more monkeypox cases have been added to Riverside County’s growing total in just one weekend.
Of the 59 monkeypox cases reported, 56 of them are right here in the Coachella Valley.
And it’s now being called a public health emergency.
The age range and gender remain the same: all men between the ages of 20 to 60 years old.
But, Riverside County Public Health is taking action in a way we are already familiar with: contact tracing.
“We continue to do contact tracing,” Deputy Public Health Officer with Riverside County Public Health Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky shared. “Some of that is identifying specific individuals, and when people discuss specific events, then we try to follow up with those events and get attendee lists. We then also inquire about who they might have been in contact with or close physical contact with so then we can screen them and see whether they would be eligible for that vaccine.”
But vaccine availability is still extremely scarce.
In a statement sent to NBC Palm Springs, Mayor Lisa Middleton said in part, “I am very pleased that nationally and statewide monkeypox is being treated as a health care crisis…there are not sufficient vaccines available for those who need them. That has to change…each of us needs to advocate for redressing the vaccine shortage.”
Regardless, public health is doing everything they can to get vaccines to those who are most at risk.
They’ve even added a new vaccine interest form.
“One of the areas that people might be most interested in is we have a vaccine interest form that we’ve added to our website,” Dr. Chevinsky explained. “So for anybody who is interested in getting a vaccine and is concerned that they might be at elevated risk, please sign up on that interest form on the website so that way we have your information to follow up as more doses become available.”
Until then, they ask people to know the symptoms and continue to be proactive.
“We do know that there are certain things that have been linked up or elevated risk in terms of spreading monkeypox, so having either multiple partners or anonymous partners, certain apps that are anonymous, those have all been linked throughout the outbreak in California and nationally,” Dr. Chevinsky continued. “So the recommendation is to monitor yourself for rashes, monitor your partner for rashes, and try to reduce potential risk in those ways in order to keep everybody safe.”
One of the cases that was noted last week did get transferred to San Bernardino County.
Some of the places people can get the vaccine in the desert include Borrego, DAP and Eisenhower Health, as well as Kaiser Permanente.
Public health continues to add more clinics to help with distributing the vaccine and is also providing an in-home vaccination option for those who have already been exposed
In terms of major events coming up like Splash House this weekend, they have not been canceled as of now.
For more information on the vaccine interest form and where you can get vaccines or tested, click here.