As COVID cases continue to decline in LA county, Monkeypox cases have doubled since last week, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.
For the second week in a row LA County has been classified as medium COVID risk by CDC criteria, with case numbers and hospitalizations both down from recent worrying highs.
LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there are several other encouraging signs in the county’s COVID data, including the fact that LA has not recorded increased circulation of the new COVID sub variant, BA.2.75.
“This is good news as our recent history has linked proliferation of new strains with increased transmissibility,” Ferrer said at this week’s media briefing.
Ferrer also said that the department is anticipating more information from the White House in the next few weeks about when doses of the Omicron-specific vaccine booster will be available in LA and who will be eligible to receive them.
Meanwhile, the county has been rolling out a monkeypox vaccination campaign for those deemed to be at high risk of infection. This includes gay and bisexual men, the demographic that has experienced the greatest spread of the disease. So far the county has received 43,290 doses from the federal government, 91 percent of which have already been administered.
As of Wednesday, 971 cases had been recorded in LA county, double the figure from last week. About 98 percent of cases were men, according to the department of public health. The county also recorded its first case in a jail as well as in a homeless shelter.
“We continue working with clinical staff in the LA county jail system to provide vaccinations to people in high risk cohorts and to work with partners to provide information on vaccines to people experiencing homelessness,” said County Health Officer Muntu Davis.
While Monkeypox does not appear to be as easily transmissible as COVID, Davis emphasized the importance of taking precautions such as hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and staying home when sick.
“Many of these steps will sound familiar as they reflect a lot of general prevention practices public health has encouraged throughout the COVID 19 pandemic,” he said. “One thing I want to reiterate is that the risk of monkeypox remains low for the general public.”