In 5 days, monkeypox cases double in New York
Confirmed case counts are still low, but numbers went from 238 Monday, to 490 Friday; more cases are also being found upstate
by Lauren Stanforth, July 17, 2022 Updated: July 17, 2022 12:24 p.m.
ALBANY — Monkeypox, the previously rare virus in humans that has been slowly spreading around the globe this year, doubled in confirmed case counts in New York over a five-day span – and the state now far leads the nation in cases.
As of Friday, New York confirmed 490 cases of monkeypox in people – compared with 238 on Monday, July 11.
Most of the cases have been in New York City’s five boroughs. However, there were new cases identified upstate as of Friday – one each in Erie, Monroe and St. Lawrence counties.
Other counties that have had confirmed cases are: Chemung, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan and Westchester.
The virus, which causes sores on the body and flu-like symptoms, is spread from having skin-to-skin contact with someone that has sores; there is debate if respiratory droplets can also readily spread the virus. Anyone can contract it. However, the outbreak in the U.S. thus far has been mostly spread among men who are intimate with other men.
State reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can lag behind real-time data. But as of Friday, New York almost had twice as many cases as the state with the second most confirmed illnesses, California.
Nassau, Suffolk, Saratoga and Westchester counties are the only counties outside New York City where the state is providing a vaccine. Last week, only about a third of available monkeypox vaccine in Saratoga County was given to people who had made appointments at two private clinic times.
Saratoga County, which has had no confirmed cases, said in a release last week that it is being given monkeypox vaccine because of its status as a “tourist” destination. The information did not mention the Saratoga Race Course. However, the track’s summer meet, as well as associated events and parties, started Thursday.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a news briefing Friday, however, that demand for the vaccine is outstripping the nation’s supply, according to a report in the New York Times. The federal government made another 131,000 doses available to states and jurisdictions Friday, including Saratoga County.
Saratoga’s health department webpage as of Sunday did not indicate when more vaccine clinics will be held. The county was initially slated to receive 300 doses to be used for the first of the two-shot regiment. On Tuesday, the state announced Saratoga will get another 620 doses, both to be used for the second shot of the regimen, and for providing vaccine to new patients.
The U.S. has purchased a total of nearly 7 million doses of monkeypox vaccine, but has received 372,000, Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Friday.
Last week, New York announced residents 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. If a zip code is provided, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.