Don’t expect the monkeypox outbreak to be as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic, Riverside County officials said after the Board of Supervisors ratified a monkey public health emergency.

“This is not COVID 2.0,” Supervisor Jeff Hewitt said after the board voted 5-0 Monday, Aug. 15, to ratify the public health emergency declared Monday, Aug. 8, by Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung.

“The vast majority of people can go back to school (and can) go about their life,” Hewitt said. “We will do everything from our end of it to suppress this and … get back closer to normal.”

The county had 94 confirmed or probably monkeypox cases as of Tuesday, Aug. 16, including the first case in a female.

When Riverside County declared its emergency, San Bernardino County spokesperson David Wert said the county had no plans to do the same. Los Angeles County declared an emergency Aug. 2.

Most cases are in the Coachella Valley, but at least a handful are in western Riverside County. No county deaths from monkeypox have been reported.

With cases doubling “very quickly,” Leung said he declared the emergency to focus more attention on the virus.

“We also felt with the scarcity of (monkeypox) vaccine, doing this could also help with asking for more vaccine,” he said.

While monkeypox is “a serious issue,” Leung said, “it is a little bit different than COVID because we have a vaccine and we have treatment. But the resources are very limited and the cases have been rising quickly.”

He later added: “We do not expect (monkeypox) to impact hospitals or emergency rooms the way that we’ve seen COVID affect our hospitals. However, we do know that it does have the potential to spread easily within communities.”

Monkeypox spreads through contact with infectious sores, scabs or bodily fluids, including during sex and touching materials like clothing and bedding that haven’t been cleaned. It also is spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.

To prevent monkeypox, public health officials recommend practicing good hygiene, talking to sexual partners about recent illness, being aware of unexplained sores or rashes on a sex partner’s body and using personal protective equipment when caring for infected people.

The state is allocating monkeypox vaccine doses based on the number of cases in a jurisdiction, county Director of Public Health Kim Saruwatari told supervisors.

The greater Palm Springs area has “a very large sex tourism industry” and “it’s very likely that people are coming to Palm Springs and either bringing disease with them … or they’re getting infected while they’re in Palm Springs and going home,” Saruwatari said. “And the cases are counted where people live, not where they’re infected.”

“So while our cases have doubled about every week or so … we know that there are probably many more cases that are associated with the Palm Springs area,” Saruwatari added. “And so we have lobbied to the state of California that we need additional vaccine supply for that reason.”