CHICAGO — The Cook County Jail on Tuesday reported its first case of monkeypox, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.
The individual was reportedly immediately isolated and contact tracing is underway, the health department said. County health officials will visit the jail Tuesday to offer testing and vaccinations to eligible individuals as the department continues its vaccination efforts in the city.
“It is important to remember that the population in the jail is a microcosm of the community,” the statement read. “As such, it is reasonable to expect cases to appear within the jail. The individual is believed to have contracted the virus in the community prior to being ordered into custody at the jail.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Chicago Public Health Department received an allotment of more than 15,000 monkeypox vaccine doses from the federal government. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called on federal health officials to ramp up vaccination efforts.
Chicago has already distributed over 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the virus that is spreading through the city. As of Tuesday, there were just under 300 cases of the virus in Chicago. And as of Monday, Illinois had recorded 344 cases statewide.
“Even with those 15,000 additional doses, it certainly doesn’t meet the demand of all the population in Chicago that may be eligible, all those who are at risk of exposure,” said Massimo Pacilli, the Chicago Public Health Department’s deputy commissioner of disease control, at a webinar Tuesday morning. “We’re aiming to do the best that 15,000 doses can do and that means to deploy them as first doses so that we can reach as many individuals who can benefit from the vaccine as possible.”
Who is eligible to receive the vaccine against monkeypox?
While the current outbreak in Chicago has been mostly spread among men who have sex with men, health officials have noted that the virus can be transmitted by prolonged close contact with bodily fluids or sores such as during intimate sexual activity or by sharing towels, bedding linens, toothbrushes or food and drinks.
Close contacts for those who have the virus are being prioritized for first vaccine doses. And according to the CDPH website, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, who are aged 18 or older, and who had multiple or anonymous sex partners, sex at a social venue, or sex in exchange for money in the last 14 days are also currently eligible to receive the vaccine, as long as they meet all the criteria.
Where can eligible individuals receive the monkeypox vaccine?
Chicago health officials are currently prioritizing first doses since these offer the most protection against the virus, according to CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. Chicago currently has a limited supply of JYNNEOSTM, one of two FDA-approved monkeypox vaccines. JYNNEOSTM is administered in two doses, 28 days apart.
According to the city’s department of public health, they have distributed monkeypox vaccines to healthcare providers who reach out to populations eligible to receive the vaccine. The CPHD has also released a list of places across the city where those eligible may receive the first dose of the vaccine.
“This isn’t a complete list and the list will grow and continue to grow both by number of partners of vaccination opportunities across the city and by volume, so the amount of vaccines to sustain current efforts and expand as we go,” Pacilli said.
—Wellness Home Lakeview at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave, No. 500. Call 773-296-2400. schedule an appointment.
—Howard Brown Health Clark at 6500 N. Clark St. Call 773-388-1600.
—Howard Brown Health Sheridan at 4025 N. Sheridan Rd. Call 773-388-1600.
—Howard Brown Health 63rd at 641 W. 63rd St. Call 773-388-1600.
—Howard Brown Health 55th at 1525 E. 55th St. Call 773-388-1600.
—Wellness Home Lakeview at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., No. 500. Call 773-296-2400.
—Wellness Home Halsted at 3416 S. Halsted St. Call 773-621-7725.
—Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center at 2020 W. Harrison St. Call 312-448-4286 or visit RMR CORE Center.
—Rush University at Adolescent Family Center, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd. Suite 315A. Call 888-352-7874.
—Esperanza at 2001 S. California Ave., Suite 100. Visit Esperanza Health Centers.
—Project Wish at University of Illinois Chicago, 840 S. Wood St., Rm. B39. Fill out the UIC Monkeypox Outreach Signup Form.