Washoe County Health District has added a Monkeypox information page to its website with a running total of confirmed cases in the county, which now stands at four.
District Health Officer Kevin Dick said the newest case is a man in his 40s who is a close contact of a previous case.
To-date, none of the cases reported in Washoe County have required hospitalization. The health district’s contact tracing team is investigating each case and reaching out to close contacts to come in and get the monkeypox vaccine.
Dick added, however, that many of the people they’ve contacted during case investigations are largely unaware of the virus.
“We are finding in our case investigations that there are still people that don’t know anything about monkeypox, and that’s a problem,” he said. “We encourage people to search for monkeypox information online and… We have information on the website that people can find by going to washoecounty.gov/monkeypox.”
Anyone can get monkeypox through close physical contact, and Dick said everyone in the community has a role in helping to suppress the spread of the virus.
“The risk is that, as we have more cases occurring in our community, it will be more difficult to suppress, and we can expect [an] increasing spread of the disease. We can see disease spread could occur to extended family transmission, daycares, etc.,” Dick said.
The highest risk in the community right now continues to be among men who have sex with men. Dick said people in that community need to take precautions to avoid getting monkeypox and to avoid spreading it.
Symptoms can include a rash that looks like blisters or pimples that can appear on the face, hands, feet and other parts of the body, including the genitals. Flu-like symptoms can also occur.
“What we’re hearing is that some people are feeling flu-like symptoms first and then develop the rash. Other people have the rash appear and then may have flu-like symptoms,” Dick said.
He urged people who think they might have the virus to get tested as soon as possible so they can receive treatment and avoid spreading the virus to others.
The county is in the medium range of COVID-19 risk based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s community level indicator, thanks in part to a decreasing number of cases in the county.
The seven-day moving average of new cases continues a steady decline since around the Fourth of July, Dick said, decreasing from 95 last week to about 83 this week.
Dick said he anticipates the community will be downgraded to low risk on the CDC’s indicator as early as tomorrow based on the latest data.
The community isn’t out of the woods yet, he added. The latest COVID-19 death was reported in Washoe County on Tuesday. There have been seven COVID-related deaths in the county in the past 30 days.
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are widely available in the community. Dick said the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the community are much lower largely as a result of the many people who have been vaccinated.
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.