SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco’s Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip released a statement Thursday declaring a State of Emergency due to the growing Monkeypox outbreak. As of July 28, there have been 261 documented cases by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, (SFDPH).
“San Francisco is an epicenter for the country. Thirty percent of all cases in California are in San Francisco. We have always been on the forefront of advocacy and action for LGBTQ+ health and I’m issuing this declaration to reaffirm our commitment to the wellbeing of these communities and to allow us to move more quickly to obtain and distribute the resources needed to help those disproportionately impacted,” Philip said in a statement.
Today San Francisco declared monkeypox a public health emergency, effective August 1, 2022. This action will help speed up and streamline to better respond to monkeypox 1/3 pic.twitter.com/1eoEKTNjdC
— SFDPH (@SF_DPH) July 28, 2022
On Wednesday State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released an urgent statement that called on San Francisco and the state of California to declare a State of Emergency due to the growing outbreak:
“Monkeypox is a public health crisis, and we need to treat it as such. In San Francisco alone, we have 222 cases – one of the highest rates in the United States. Given that spread and that Monkeypox is now being detected in our sewage, we know that cases are high and will continue to grow. Monkeypox is painful and isolating, and no one should have to experience it.
“Unfortunately, because our federal government failed to act quickly to acquire the vaccine supplies needed to prevent an outbreak, we are now in a public health emergency that is only going to escalate. Given that gay and bi men and trans people are the most impacted, it’s sadly becoming clear that we are being left behind once again.
“That’s why I’m calling on San Francisco and California to declare a State of Emergency. State of Emergency declarations will create significant flexibility around testing, contracting for services, and administration of vaccinations. It will allow us to use all the resources in our power to contain the outbreak. Right now, we don’t have enough vaccines or testing, and we need flexibility to expand access to both. We have no time to waste: this is happening now, it’s serious, and we need to do everything we can to contain it.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed compared the monkeypox outbreak to the city’s ongoing experience dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” the mayor said. “We know that this virus impacts everyone equally — but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at greater risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”
Dr. Grant Colfax, the Out City Director of Health echoing Mayor Breed said: “Our COVID-19 response has taught us that it is imperative that we mobilize city resources. The declaration helps us ensure we have all the tools available to augment our outreach, testing and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for Monkeypox.”