Gov. Hochul declares state disaster emergency in response to current monkeypox outbreak
Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order Friday declaring a state disaster emergency in response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.
The executive order enables the state to respond more swiftly to the outbreak and allows health care professionals to take additional steps that will help get more New Yorkers vaccinated.
"After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York state, I am declaring a state disaster emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to confront this outbreak," Hochul said.
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 state Department of Health.
The most common symptom is an itchy and painful rash that looks like pimples or blisters, which was reported in 99% of New York cases.
Health experts say to watch out for other symptoms too, like a fever or swollen lymph nodes.
Suffolk currently has 18 monkeypox cases and Nassau has seven.
Pharmacists like Howard Jacobson of Rockville Center Pharmacy are still waiting on word from the Health Department on when they’ll receive vaccines to administer and how many are planned to be sent.
Dr. Priti Jain of Nao Medical Care in Mineola says she requested the vaccine about three months ago from the Department of Health, but still hasn't received any yet. She says the government must do a better job of reaching out to those who are most at risk.
The monkeypox virus mainly spreads through skin-on-skin contact, but it can also transmit through touching linens used by someone with the infection. The vast majority of cases reported have been in men who have sex with men, though health officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus.
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.