Governor Kathy Hochul issued an Executive Order on Friday night (July 29) 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,” a statement issued by the Governor’s Office quoted Hochul said. “More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups. That’s why my team and I are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak.”
San Francisco mayor Mayor London N. Breedhas also declared a state of emergency over the growing number of monkeypox cases, allowing officials to cut through red tape and fight a public health crisis reminiscent of the AIDS epidemic that began devastating the city in the 1980s. Currently, San Francisco Department of Health has confirmed 261 cases of monkeypox in the city. 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).
The NY Governor’s 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 New York State Department of Health.
The late-night announcement builds on New York State’s ongoing response efforts on monkeypox, including efforts to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and distribute the latest information and resources to New Yorkers. Governor Hochul announced a day earlier on July 28 that the federal government had secured an additional 110,000 vaccine doses, resulting in a total of 170,000 doses to New Yorkers to date. Governor Hochul and the Department of Health are continuing their ongoing coordination with White House, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness & Response (ASPR) to ensure that New York continues to receive its fair share of vaccine supply as soon they are available, especially for those New Yorkers in communities with high transmission rates.
Recently, New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health (ITPH) in New York State. Earlier this month, NYSDOH launched a new SMS-text notification effort to deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can sign up for text messages—which will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread, and resources for testing and vaccination—by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336 or “MONKEYPOXESP” for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.
NYSDOH’s dedicated website, which stays updated with the latest information, has free, downloadable materials including a palm card, information card, handout, and posters available in both English and Spanish. NYSDOH has already distributed these resources to LGBTQ+ organizations, local county health departments, healthcare providers, and businesses. NYSDOH has also engaged in a paid, digital advertising campaign to get information to communities experiencing higher rates of monkeypox cases.
In addition to public outreach, the New York State Department of Health continues to focus on distributing vaccines to communities. Local county health departments that have received supply are administering the vaccine directly and establishing their own appointment processes. Working in partnership with counties, New Yorkers who sign-up for location-based alerts may receive alerts on vaccine availability, clinic locations, scheduling, and other monkeypox-related updates specific to their area.
Earlier this month, NYSDOH, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), hosted a Monkeypox Town Hall for community leaders led by State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, a statement by the Governor’s office added.
New Yorkers can learn more about New York State’s first vaccine allocation from the federal government here and the second allocation here.