CSAC Bulletin Article

Senate Select Committee on Monkeypox Highlights County Public Health Efforts and Needs

The newly formed Senate Select Committee on Monkeypox, chaired by Senator Scott Wiener, convened for the first time on Tuesday to hear from state and local health officials on California’s response to the growing monkeypox outbreak. The hearing occurred on the tails of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency (PHE) announced late last week. Governor Newsom also declared a State of Emergency last week as part of the state’s ongoing response to the monkeypox virus.

The hearing featured a panel of four county health officials, who discussed the ongoing actions taken and the challenges local health departments face in efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. Common themes expressed throughout the hearing included limited testing and vaccine supply, the bureaucratic challenges of prescribing treatment, and staffing capacity.

Although many of the solutions necessary to combat the spread of monkeypox require action and resources from the federal government, a coalition of members of the Legislature recently submitted a supplemental budget appropriation request for $38.5 million to aid county response to monkeypox. The majority of funding requested would be allocated to local health departments for vaccine logistics and distribution, reimbursements for treatment, expanded testing and lab capacity, emergency staffing, and coordinated outreach and community education.

CSAC will continue to work with local public health officials to seek adequate resources to prevent and mitigate outbreaks. Those wanting to learn more about monkeypox transmission, symptoms, and prevention can visit the California Department of Public Health’s webpage.

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