PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new dashboard for tracking cases of monkeypox around the state of Oregon was announced by health officials on Thursday. The Oregon Health Authority gave a press conference to provide an update on the status of monkeypox in Oregon.
During Thursday’s announcement, OHA officials also worked to reassure the public about what the state is doing to help protect and inform the public about the spread of monkeypox.
There are currently 95 presumed or confirmed cases of monkeypox in the state, in seven counties.
Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist, spoke on the current state of monkeypox in Oregon. He said that while it is a concern, he wants to stress that it isn’t another COVID-19. The disease spreads in a different way and people need not worry of another pandemic like that.
That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a concern though, officials said, adding that people should still stay up to date on what is happening with monkeypox. With that in mind, OHA has opened a new website to help the public better understand what is going on in terms of case numbers, symptoms and what can be done to help protect from the virus. This new site can be found on OHA’s website here.
In terms of the vaccine for monkeypox, production and distribution have been slow, but it is speeding up. So far, 2,187 first doses have been administered, and there are only 35 doses available in Oregon.
Currently, health officials are not recommending the vaccine for everyone, only for specific at-risk groups.
The most important note was that it is important to fight misinformation and stigma around the virus, officials said. While this is a virus that is currently disproportionately affecting specific groups, particularly gay and bisexual men, anyone is able to contract the virus and everyone should be safe and know the symptoms.
Things to watch out for are fever, exhaustion, and most importantly a rash that can look like pimples and may be painful or itchy.
Washington state has reported more than double the number of cases as Oregon, with 236 monkeypox cases.
Nationally, the CDC says there are more than 10,000 cases.