HARTFORD, Conn. — As more cases of monkeypox show up in Connecticut, health leaders are responding by preventing the spread of the virus.
There have been 28 cases in Connecticut as of Wednesday, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).
The state's response is different than when the COVID pandemic emerged, Gov. Ned Lamont stressed in a news conference on Thursday. Vaccines and more resources are readily available and the virus does not spread as "wildly."
"This is also back to the days of track and trace. It’s a narrower group of people, much narrower. We don’t see this spreading wildly throughout the community," said Lamont.
Commissioner Manisha Juthani of DPH said Connecticut saw its first case on July 5. The most recent cases occurred in men who identify as being LGBTQ+, ranging in ages 20 to 49 years old.
"We all need to play a role to stop the ugliness of stigma and shame and name-calling," said Linda Estabrook of the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective.
"Don’t call it monkeypox. It has nothing to do with that name," added Lamont.
Even though it is currently called monkeypox, the source of the disease is not known, according to the CDC. There have been calls from researchers and health officials to rename the monkeypox strains to remove the stigma behind the name.
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Juthani said 635 doses were allocated to the state on July 8. An additional 1,143 doses were allocated on July 15 with more to arrive.
"We have 800 doses that will be going out to people across the state starting Monday and every single day we will ramp that up as much as possible," added Juthani.
She added the virus is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an open lesion.
Only those who have been exposed to someone with a lesion would be able to receive the vaccine.
"If you are 18 and older, if you are a man who has sex with men and have had a contact in the last 14 days in terms of multiple contacts, that is someone who is going to be potentially eligible," said Juthani.
However, those who already have the virus will not be qualified since they are then considered a case.
Fifteen vaccination sites will be opening up across the state. A list of those sites is still being finalized and will be available through the DPH website on Monday.
Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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