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Austin City Council declares local state of disaster over monkeypox outbreak

Councilmembers approved an emergency item at their meeting Thursday.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council on Thursday declared a local state of disaster because of the monkeypox outbreak.

Councilmembers considered an emergency item at their meeting Thursday. The resolution ratifies a "Declaration of Local State of Disaster" and consents to a continuation of the disaster declaration for a period of more than seven days.

The City of Austin and Travis County already declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, Travis County has reported 68 potential cases of monkeypox – 9 confirmed and 59 presumptive.

Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County's health authority, said it is imperative for the public to do its part in preventing the spread of monkeypox, including washing your hands, wearing a mask, avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact by covering your skin when possible and staying home and isolating when you're feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, chills, headache and a rash.

Walkes said monkeypox is a "self-limited" disease, meaning most people are not being hospitalized. However, isolation periods could put those who test positive out of work for up to 28 days.

Austin Public Health has been administering the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine to those who currently qualify based on CDC guidelines. 

Right now, those are people who are at high risk and have had close contact with someone with monkeypox, who had a sexual partner in the past 14 days who was diagnosed with monkeypox or those who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox.

For more information on monkeypox in Austin, visit the Austin Public Health website.

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