“We are issuing emergency orders today primarily for the purpose that our community knows this is a serious situation,” Adler said, adding that city officials hope the declaration will encourage residents to practice safe behaviors, as the disease is spreading across all communities.
As of Aug. 8, there are 68 confirmed cases in Travis County, one of which led to hospitalization due to pain, according to Walkes. Statewide there are 702 cases, nine of which are women and one case is a child. No women or children have been diagnosed in Travis County, according to Walkes.
“It can be quite excruciating, especially if it’s in the mouth, genitalia or anus,” Walkes said.
City officials said they are also declaring the emergency to boost health care resources from the state and federal government.
“We need the federal government to do everything they can to increase the availability of the vaccine and medicine,” Adler said.
According to Walkes, the city was given vaccines and medications for individuals who were exposed to a known case or to individuals who attended an event where they could have been exposed. However, resources are becoming scarce as monkeypox spreads.
Officials hope the vaccine—which is a smallpox vaccine manufactured in Denmark—will arrive in Travis County in September. However, officials have no control over the timeline. Until resources are available, officials urge residents to wash hands, avoid direct skin-to-skin contact and stay home if experiencing symptoms. Additionally, Walkes noted that Travis County should scale up on epidemiologists and contact tracers.
“It’s gonna be up to us; it’s not up to the virus,” Walkes said.