On August 2, 2022, the Long Beach City Manager proclaimed a local emergency to strengthen the City’s preparedness and ability to respond to monkeypox. This proclamation must be ratified within seven days by the Long Beach City Council. In an effort to stop the spread of monkeypox and make the vaccine more readily accessible to those at highest risk, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) is also expanding the eligibility criteria for the vaccine, effective immediately.
“We are continuing to work proactively to protect the health of every Long Beach resident, and this proclamation will allow us to mobilize more resources,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “By expanding vaccine eligibility even further, we can continue working to slow the spread and quickly protect our highest risk populations.”
“Although the number of monkeypox cases are still low, we are taking this response very seriously,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “We urge everyone to stay updated and avoid misinformation by visiting longbeach.gov/monkeypox.”
Pursuant to the Long Beach Municipal Code, City Manager Tom Modica proclaimed the local emergency related to monkeypox. The proclamation allows the City to take all actions necessary to implement preventive measures to protect and preserve the public health of the city from monkeypox, including, but not limited to, mobilizing City resources, accelerating emergency planning, streamlining staffing, coordinating across other agencies, expediting the ability of the City to purchase necessary supplies to combat monkeypox, allowing for future reimbursement by the State and federal governments and raising awareness throughout Long Beach about monkeypox, including how people can lower their risk and stop the spread. Los Angeles and Orange counties have issued similar declarations to bolster their preparedness, and yesterday, the State of California proclaimed a state of emergency to support its response to monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox but causes less severe disease. The virus can be spread person-to-person through close or intimate contact or by sharing contaminated items like bedding and clothes. Anyone who is exposed to the virus can acquire monkeypox, and it is a serious concern for our community. The City’s current vaccination efforts are focused in the LGBTQ+ community, where the virus is currently circulating disproportionately. Eligibility is likely to expand as the City is able to obtain more vaccine.
Right now, the monkeypox vaccine is available to:
- People who were exposed to someone with confirmed monkeypox and do not have symptoms.
- People who attended an event/venue where there was high risk of exposure to someone with confirmed monkeypox.
- Gay or bisexual men and transgender persons who are on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
- Gay or bisexual men and transgender people who attended saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs, circuit parties or sex parties where they had anonymous sex or sex with multiple partners.
- Gay or bisexual men and transgender people with a diagnosis of gonorrhea or early syphilis within the past 12 months.
- New: Gay or bisexual men and transgender people 18 years of age and older who had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days including engaging in survival and/or transactional sex (e.g., sex in exchange for shelter, food and other goods and needs).
- New: Residents who are immunocompromised, including those with advanced or uncontrolled HIV, who may be at high risk for severe disease.
Those looking to be vaccinated may sign up through the City’s pre-registration system to join a vaccine appointment wait list. Those who sign up and meet the eligibility criteria will be contacted with additional information on how to get vaccinated when it is their turn. The pre-registration system is available here or by visiting longbeach.gov/monkeypox. While the City has expanded clinic hours in order to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, the City is still limited by vaccine availability, which is in scarce supply.
On July 16, the City announced the first confirmed presumptive case of monkeypox in Long Beach. As of August 2, there are 20 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox in Long Beach. None of these individuals required hospitalization and all are isolating and recovering at home or have recovered. To date, the City has vaccinated 620 people; by the end of this week, the number of vaccines given is expected to rise to at least 1,400.
Long Beach has been working diligently in its response to monkeypox and has been working closely with healthcare providers in the community, including sexual health clinics and LGBTQ+ centers, to provide vaccine, education and guidance. The Health Department has activated its Department Operations Center, prioritizing resources and leadership to focus on the clinical, epidemiological and community response.
The Department encourages all residents to visit longbeach.gov/monkeypox for up-to-date facts on monkeypox, and to avoid misinformation. You can also follow updates, tips and notices on the Health Department’s social media pages @LBHealthDept and by following the hashtag #monkeypoxLB.