NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency Friday in response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak in New York.

The order allows the state to respond more quickly to the outbreak and allows health care professionals to take additional steps that will help get more New Yorkers vaccinated.

“After reviewing the latest data on the monkeypox outbreak in New York State, I am declaring a state Disaster Emergency to strengthen our aggressive ongoing efforts to conform this outbreak,” Governor Hochul said. “More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State, and we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal as we respond. It’s especially important to recognize the ways in which this outbreak is currently having a disproportionate impact on certain at-risk groups. That’s why my team and I are working around the clock to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity and responsibly educate the public on how to stay safe during this outbreak.”

The state said the executive order specifically extends the pool of eligible individuals who can administer monkeypox vaccines, including EMS personnel, pharmacists and midwives.

This will also allow physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient-specific standing orders for vaccines and requires providers to send vaccine data to the New York State Department of Health. 

On Thursday, Hochul announced that the federal government had secured an additional 110,000 monkeypox vaccine doses, resulting in a total of 170,000 doses to New Yorkers to date.

New York City has more monkeypox cases than any other city in the United States. As of Friday, 1,289 people have tested positive for monkeypox in New York City.

“Anyone can get and spread monkeypox. The current cases [in New York City] are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men; transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people. People in these social circles who have multiple or anonymous sex partners are at a high risk of exposure,” the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website states.

Monkeypox is a contagious disease that is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact. Transmission can happen during sex or other intimate activities such as oral, anal or vaginal sex, hugging, kissing or massaging.

The most common symptom of monkeypox is a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters. These may be all over the body or just in certain parts. Symptoms usually start seven to 14 days after exposure, but in some cases they may not appear for up to 21 days, according to health experts.

Most of the people who have contracted monkeypox have not been hospitalized and have recovered on their own, health officials have said.