Monkeypox cases doubling each week in Washington state

According to the Washington Department of Health, the number of monkeypox cases across the state has recently doubled on a weekly basis.

Health workers said 166 cases of monkeypox have now been diagnosed in people across Washington. They noted that 88% of those cases are in King County alone.

>>Seattle residents driving to Canada for vaccine as local monkeypox cases are doubling weekly

Unlike places like California and New York, health workers said there are no current plans to declare a state of emergency.

“We just have not had the roadblocks and issues at this point that lead us as a state, with our laws, to have to declare a state of emergency,” said Andrew Rose with the Washington Department of Health.

Not that there aren’t key challenges.

Among the difficulties health workers face is trying to convince the public that monkeypox isn’t just a virus that affects the LGBTQ community.

“It hurts the entire community because we do not know as a public health system who has a certain condition and disease so we can help monitor, help support,” said Umair Shah, Washington state’s secretary of health.

Another major challenge is a lack of available vaccines.

Across the state, only 6,800 doses are currently available.

In the months ahead, 1,700 additional doses are expected to arrive in Washington state.

For now, though, only certain at-risk people are allowed to get the monkeypox vaccine.

“As more vaccine becomes available, we’ll be opening up more broadly to anybody with high risk of exposure, but there’s just not enough vaccines at this point,” said Michelle Roberts with the Washington Department of Health.

As for testing, nine private labs are now up and ready to test monkeypox, should more cases arise.