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Declaring monkeypox a public health emergency could help Triad health departments

The Forsyth County health director says the federal government can allocate more resources to health departments.

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Biden administration says monkeypox is now a public health emergency. 

Its hope is to get more vaccines and treatments to more impacted communities across the country.

"The real challenge now is to expeditiously get those interventions to the people who need them," Dr. Anthony Fauci said. 

So what does this declaration mean for the Triad - and the health departments here?

"In a nutshell, it allows more resources to be allocated to response efforts. We've seen this before with states in the country during COVID. We've seen it during hurricanes and other natural disasters," Forsyth County Public Health Director Joshua Swift said. 

The administration's move is to influence Americans to take the virus seriously. 

But Forsyth County public health director Joshua Swift says it's not a time to panic.

"I think this sends a message that this is important and that we need to deal with it now and we need to deal with this. Ideally, you hope that you can contain this, contain a communicable disease," Swift said.

Swift says the help from the federal government should help them work harder tackling the virus and provide them with the resources to do it.

"We have nurses now; the state has provided who can help us with COVID vaccines but because of the way the funding is, they can't help us with administering monkeypox vaccine so we're hoping that that will break down that barrier and allow us to use those nurses to help in those other areas," Swift said. 

The Forsyth County Health Department received about 300 more doses of the monkeypox vaccine Thursday. 

Meantime, as of Monday, Guilford County hadn't received any doses, but county leaders say they've learned they'll get some soon. 

    

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