DALLAS COUNTY, Texas - Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins signed an emergency declaration on Friday in an attempt to slow the spread of monkeypox.
In a news conference, Jenkins said he will use the declaration to try to get more doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government.
"This declaration is not a cause for panic," Jenkins said. "This is a declaration that we will use to try to open more doors to get vaccine faster. Because we know ultimately vaccination is what we need to get monkeypox under control."
The county currently has 5,000 doses of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.
Jenkins also encouraged people who think they might have the virus to get tested.
Dallas County currently has more monkeypox cases than any other county in Texas.
So far this year, 215 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Dallas County, with a ‘significant increase’ in the last few weeks, according to Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Dr. Huang says some of the cases did result in hospitalizations, but did not provide an exact number.
The virus has primarily spread among men who have sex with other men, though anyone can become infected.
Dallas County and area clinics have been swamped with calls seeking the vaccine.
The county asks people to call (972) 692-2780 for questions about vaccine access and registration.
Earlier this week, Dallas County expanded who is eligible for the shot to include:
- Persons who had close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox.
- Men 18+ who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past 14 days (cis or trans men who have sex with men).
Friday's announcement comes a day after the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
The CDC says there are currently more than 7,000 confirmed cases across the U.S..