San Francisco to Declare Local Public Health Emergency for Monkeypox
Declaration will strengthen the City’s preparedness and response to the monkeypox virus as cases continue to increase in San Francisco
San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) today announced a local emergency declaration to strengthen the City’s preparedness and response to the rapidly rising cases of Monkeypox. This action will expedite and streamline the availability of resources to better respond to this developing health emergency.
The declaration of a local emergency is a legal action that will mobilize City resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the city, allow for future reimbursement by the state and federal governments and raise awareness throughout San Francisco about how everyone can stop the spread of Monkeypox in our community. It will go into effect on August 1.
“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” said Mayor London Breed. “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.”
Currently, SFDPH has confirmed 261 cases of monkeypox in San Francisco. There are reportedly 799 cases in California, over 4,600 cases in the United States, and more than 19,000 cases globally (in 76 countries).
“We need to be prepared and this declaration will allow us to serve the city better,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “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.”
“San Francisco is an epicenter for the country. Thirty percent of all cases in California are in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip. "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.”
As Monkeypox cases continue to increase in San Francisco, the demand for vaccine remains high and additional supply is needed to stop community spread. This week, San Francisco is expected to receive 4,220 doses of Monkeypox vaccine. SFDPH initially requested 35,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine to meet the needs of San Franciscans. Including this week’s allocation, to date the City has only received approximately 12,000 doses.
"I’m grateful that San Francisco, under the leadership of Mayor Breed, understands the deep public health threat that Monkeypox poses,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “San Francisco was at the forefront of the public health responses to HIV and COVID-19, and we will be at the forefront when it comes to Monkeypox. We can’t and won’t leave the LGTBQ community out to dry.”
While the Monkeypox virus impacts all people, data shows significant spread in San Francisco’s LGTBQ community at higher rates. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can be infected and spread monkeypox. The local emergency declaration will also provide adequate support for San Francisco’s LGTBQ population.
“I am grateful to our Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip for declaring this State of Emergency,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “In the face of a frustratingly slow federal response, it is all the more important that we be able to mobilize all available local resources to get vaccines into arms as quickly and equitably as possible.”
“I strongly support our local public health authorities’ decision to declare a public health emergency for Monkeypox, and I think it’s important for San Franciscans to understand that this isn’t about alarmism but preparedness,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “It’s a prudent step, which aligns with recent moves by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I think it also reflects the ‘San Francisco Model’ of care, which is rooted in our City’s early response to the AIDS Crisis a generation ago, and which put us far ahead of other cities’ response to COVID-19 in 2020. It prioritizes the health and safety of at-risk populations in San Francisco, and I’ll be supporting it at the Board of Supervisors.”
The City has been working diligently to increase the implementation of testing, treatment, and vaccine distribution in response to the spread of the Monkeypox virus. San Francisco has a significant number of Monkeypox cases and lacks sufficient vaccine supply for the number of people in need. SFDPH will continue to request additional vaccine allocations from the state and distribute to community clinics, health systems, and other locations where they are needed.
Additionally, SFDPH is also reaching out to communities to raise awareness and education about monkeypox, the City’s response, and ensure clinicians remain well informed about testing, infection control, and management of monkeypox as the health emergency develops.
Monkeypox spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which includes sex, kissing, breathing at very close range, and sharing bedding and clothing. While SFDPH continues to advocate for more vaccines for our City, here are some additional preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of infection:
- Consider limiting opportunities that put you in close skin-to-skin contact with others
- Stay home if you do not feel well and encourage your friends to do the same
- Call your doctor if you are experiencing a rash or sores
- Talk with your sexual partners about yours and their health
If you have symptoms:
- Talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
- Avoid sharing your bed while you have the rash
- Do your best to keep a healthy distance from others
To find additional guidance on monkeypox, including local case counts, and updates about vaccine supply, please visit this page.