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Chicago health officials emphasize testing, prevention amid demand for Monkeypox vaccine

CHICAGO (WLS) — The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

President Biden appointed two federal officials to oversee the nation’s response.

There are more than 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S., including several children.

RELATED: What is monkeypox? What to know about virus, symptoms, spread as US confirms 1st 2022 case

The news comes as the City of Chicago provided an update on the number of local cases, just as the North Side prepares to host “Market Days”.

On the heels of monkeypox being declared a national public health emergency, Chicago’s public Health commissioner shares plans to get information and vaccine to Black and Brown communities.

WATCH: Dr. Arwady gives Chicago monkeypox update

“I am pleased to see this at the federal level. The number one thing that’s needed, in my mind, is doses of vaccine,” Dr Allison Arwady. “I’m hopeful we will be able to see more emergency action.”

The city reports 459 monkey pox cases. All but one were men, one was a transgender person, and most identified themselves as gay.

Health officials acknowledge the demand for vaccine outweighs supply currently, so the emphasis is on testing and prevention.

RELATED: Monkeypox cases near 300 in Chicago as city distributes 15K vaccine doses, CDPH says

“I know right now people in the community are frustrated they have to leave messages and wait for people to call them back but I need people to understand we are trying,” said Maurice Brownlee, with Wellness Home.

Earlier this week, the State of Illinois declared the virus a public health emergency.

Declaring the state a “disaster area” allows the Illinois Dept. of Public Health to better coordinate with other state agencies and the federal government on vaccine distribution and disease prevention.

“This declaration allows us to do many things but important things, like making sure that we have additional support that it needs to really help prioritize and get vaccines out,” said Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra.

RELATED: Monkeypox and children: What to know about testing, symptoms, treatments and more”

With North Halsted Market Day approaching this weekend, which draws over 100,000 of all sexual identities and orientations, organizers are sharing information with North Halsted businesses and visitors about the early symptoms.

“If you may have a symptom that may be monkeypox, it’s better to remove yourself. We don’t want to see this expand and grow in our community,” said Mark Liberson, with the Northalsted Business Alliance.

The CDC has released safety guidelines for people with monkeypox, urging those infected with the virus to “remain isolated at home or at another location for the duration of illness.”

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