DC Health publishes monkeypox data tracker, identifies 350 cases

DC Health shares the District’s current monkeypox data (as of Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022). (Courtesy DC Health via Twitter)

D.C. Council members pushed the District’s health department to publish a dashboard tracking monkeypox cases. On Wednesday, that data was made public, with the agency reporting 350 cases in the District.

The health department’s latest data showed D.C. monkeypox cases were primarily confirmed in men and people in their early 30s. The tracker currently breaks down cases based on gender identity, race, ward and age.

As of Wednesday, 167 cases were reported in those identified as white and 128 cases among Black-identifying people. Wards 1 and 2 reported the most cases.

The publication comes after eight council members penned a letter Monday to Dr. Sharon Lewis, the current director of the District’s health department. Council member Elissa Silverman led the push to make the data public and commended the agency’s work.

“This is government working together for a shared goal: Keeping DC residents healthy & protected against monkeypox,” Silverman said in a tweet.

In the council members’ letter, they emphasized “broader communication to lower-risk residents” on the monkeypox virus, using dashboards and other materials.

“Many residents who are not considered at high risk for monkeypox are scared for themselves and for their children who will return to school later this month,” the members said. “They do not feel they have sufficient information to know what their own risk is or how to protect themselves and their family members.”

Along with increased communication, Council members Silverman, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, Mary Cheh, Brianne Nadeau, Brooke Pinto, Robert White and Trayon White called for equitable distribution of monkeypox vaccines.

“We are interested in learning more about how DC Health is applying lessons learned during COVID about communicating and distributing vaccines to the monkeypox situation,” the letter continued.

In addition, the members asked that DC Health provide “data on vaccine distribution by ward and other relevant characteristics; an overview of current and planned outreach efforts, especially to those who are not on social media or have consistent/any access to the internet; and an explanation of the appointment scheduling process, especially how people with limited or no internet access are able to schedule appointments.”

The publication of the data comes as officials identify more than 16,000 people vaccinated against monkeypox, mostly white men between 30 to 64 years old.

The agency is offering the vaccine to anyone who lives, works or goes to a college or university in the District and has had multiple sex partners in the past two weeks.

WTOP has reached out to D.C. Health for more information on the tracker. 

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

Anne Kramer

Anne Kramer first joined WTOP as a freelance news anchor in 2022 before taking on the afternoon drive. Before coming to the Washington area, Anne spent 25 years working as a news anchor and reporter for WBAL Radio in Baltimore.

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