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New York City officials host monkeypox town hall as disease continues to sweep city

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(NEW YORK) — New York City officials are holding a town hall Monday to discuss the ongoing monkeypox outbreak as cases continue to climb and thousands of vaccine appointments over the weekend were swept up within minutes.

Currently, there are more than 2,300 confirmed cases in the Big Apple with Manhattan having the most at 917, according to data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Brooklyn has the second-highest number of cases at 472, followed by the Bronx with 310, Queens with 278 and Staten Island with 13. It’s unknown which boroughs the remaining cases are from.

In response to the outbreak, the NYCDOHMH will be holding an event in the Bronx with Dr. Madhura Ray, director of the department’s Data and Analytics for Childcare, to discuss vaccination sites, testing, outreach for at-risk populations and preventative measures.

The event is being held in partnership with Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibbons — who will be hosting the town hall — and Destination Tomorrow, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

“[Gibbons] has been concerned over the slowness in getting vaccinations and concerned about awareness,” the borough president’s press secretary, Arlene Mukoko, told ABC News. “We want people to fully know what [monkeypox] is, how it can get transmitted. The New York City Department of Health is saying anyone can get it so how does that work? How is outreach going?”

She continued, “We want to make sure everyone is getting treated in a way that is empowering. It’s a community conversation.”

Of all New York City cases with available race/ethnicity information, Black and Hispanic people have made up nearly 55% of documented infections — particularly relevant in the Bronx, which is largely made up of Black and Hispanic residents, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.

Most of New York City’s infections have occurred among men between ages 25 and 44 who identify as LGBTQ, according to data from the NYCDOHMH.

Health officials, however, have stressed that anyone is at risk if they have intimate contact with an infected patient or come into contact with their lesions.

It comes just one day after more than 6,000 new vaccine appointment slots across the city were filled in under one hour, according to Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. He decried the lack of supply and called on health officials to increase the number of available doses.

“There are still many people at risk who haven’t been able to access this vaccine. We need more supply for NYC [as soon as possible],” he tweeted Sunday.

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