Riv. Co. Public Health Tracking Monkeypox As Cases Rise

Carmela Karcher

“We’ve been going up little by little each day,” Riverside County Public Health Public Information Officer, Jose Arballo, said.

As monkeypox cases continue to rise, Riverside County Public Health is taking what they learned during the pandemic with its new “MPX Surveillance Dashboard.”

“The dashboard provides a breakdown of quite a bit of information from city to city data, to gender and age groups,” Arballo continued. “What we’re trying to do is provide as much information as we can, while also being sensitive to the issues of privacy and confidentiality of those who have the virus. We think it’s a very useful piece of information and we’re hoping that people will now use it to kind of get a better idea of what we’re looking at.”

According to the dashboard released Friday morning, the two cities who are seeing the most cases in the desert are Palm Springs with 66 and Cathedral City with 21.

Desert Hot Springs and the city of Riverside are seeing the third most cases with 5 in each.

It also shows the age group of 35 to 44 years old is being the most affected by the virus with gender remaining predominantly male.

“It’s really important, because you’ll see right now, the vast majority of cases are in the Coachella Valley,” Arballo said.

But with vaccine availability still scarce nationwide, health officials are trying a new way to vaccinate more people.

“We’re trying to eventually be able to use that as the new way of administering the vaccine and so that we can expand the number of doses that we have,” Arballo explained.  “It’ll be something like if you’ve ever had a TB test, just that little bit under the skin. We’re hoping by doing that, we’ll really expand the number of vaccine doses that we have available. In a vial, you would normally have a single dose or five doses. Now you can divide those up by five. So basically, instead of having, let’s say, the number was 1,000 doses, you now would have 5,000 doses.”

This dosage, they say, is just as effective.

All the while, they’re also looking into a second dose 25 to 38 days after the first dose.

That’s still too early to determine as of now, but with the addition of this and the new dashboard, public health hopes it can all contribute to stopping the spread.

“We hope that by providing this information, the public has a better idea of where the virus is now and take the proper precautions to slow the spread,” Arballo said.

Public health says they will be updating this dashboard four to five times a week or more if cases continue to rise.

They also said they will slowly start calling monkeypox, “MPX” to follow guidelines from the state and other federal health officials.

Riverside County Public Health is now reporting 124 total cases, that’s 15 more than yesterday.

The county also reported its second female case on Friday.

For a link to this dashboard, click here.

For Riverside County Public Health updates on the virus, click here.

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