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San Francisco Declares State of Emergency Over Monkeypox

San Francisco officials declared a state of emergency Thursday over rising monkeypox cases across the city.

The move allows the city to get reimbursed by state and federal governments as it mobilizes city resources, accelerates emergency planning and streamlines staffing, the city said in a news release. The declaration goes into effect Aug. 1.

“San Francisco showed during COVID that early action is essential for protecting public health,” Mayor London Breed said in the release.

“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.”

Cases in San Francisco are climbing, with the Department of Public Health reporting a total of 261 cases on Wednesday, up from 222 cases the day before. No deaths have been reported in the U.S. outbreak so far, although the rash caused by the virus can be painful and lasts for two to four weeks.

“We need to be prepared and this declaration will allow us to serve the city better,” San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said in a news release.

“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.”

Supervisor Gordon Marsaid on Twitter that this is the right thing to do. “And with this emergency declaration, Public Health Emergency Leave — the law I wrote expanding paid leave for public health emergencies — will now cover monkeypox in addition to COVID-19 when it takes effect on Oct. 1st,” wrote Mar, in regards to the law that will expand paid leave for SF workers during public health crises and unhealthy air days.

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