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Rep. Ruiz: Palm Springs at ‘extremely high risk for monkeypox contraction’


Rep. Raul Ruiz is asking the state of California to allocate additional doses of monkeypox vaccines to the Coachella Valley, citing high-risk factors and claiming that "California’s vaccine distribution strategy continues to overlook the Palm Springs area."

"As a popular tourist destination, especially for LGBTQ+ Americans, the Palm Springs area is at extremely high risk for monkeypox contraction and requires a specialized focus in order to mitigate potential dangers."

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D, CA-36)

In a letter to the state's Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36), wrote:

“While major cities in California have vaccinated their highest-risk citizens and begun vaccinating broader groups, Palm Springs remains unable to vaccinate even those at highest risk...If California’s vaccine distribution strategy continues to overlook the Palm Springs area, monkeypox will spread at even higher rates and endanger more populations nationwide.”

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA-36)

Ruiz stated that current state allocations stand at about "1,000 doses to Riverside County as a whole, which could only vaccinate around 500 people county-wide, and even less so in the Palm Springs area."

Ruiz says he knows of local infectious disease experts who say that they would need 10,000 vaccines to cover the area’s high-risk populations.

You can read Dr. Ruiz's full letter to Dr. Mark Ghaly below.

Ruiz argues that "vaccine priority is being given to cities like San Francisco and San Diego, based on measurements such as population density and positivity rate. This causes high-risk but low-density cities like Palm Springs to be overlooked for vaccine provision."

There's one confirmed case, and five probable cases, in the Coachella Valley. News Channel 3 has been continuing to provide updates on efforts to increase vaccine availability in the Coachella Valley.

More: Monkeypox: RivCo’s latest efforts to increase testing, vaccine availability

More: Eisenhower Health, Riverside County secure Monkeypox vaccine allotment from CA

A spokesperson for Eisenhower Health told News Channel 3 earlier this week that the "California Department of Public Health has released 120 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine for monkey pox to Eisenhower Health to assist in the care of Eisenhower patients who have had a high risk exposure to the disease."

Riverside County will be receiving an additional 1,100+ Monkeypox vaccine doses from the California Department of Public Health, officials announced Thursday afternoon. The County has promised vaccines to Coachella Valley but has not yet announced the locations that will make them available.

Some gay-specific resorts in the valley are taking action to prevent the spread of Monkeypox.

Video: Some local gay resorts close parts of facilities in response to Monkeypox

I-Team investigator Peter Daut spoke exclusively with Riverside County's first confirmed monkeypox patient. The patient came forward to speak with News Channel 3 about his experience to help warn people about the virus.

Watch: I-Team Exclusive: Riverside County’s first confirmed Monkeypox patient speaks out

There are a number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:

  • Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
  • Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely. Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • Avoiding contact with infected animals

Link: CDC’s tips for preventing exposure to Monkeypox. 

Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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KESQ News Team

Peter Daut


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