First case of monkeypox detected in Alameda County

Refugio Garcia

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First suspected case of monkeypox discovered in Alameda County

Alameda County health officials on Thursday announced the first suspected case of monkeypox after an area resident tested positive for an orthopoxvirus, which includes smallpox, cowpox and monkeypox. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is currently testing to confirm the monkeypox infection, East Bay Times reports.

“Alameda County is prepared to respond to this and possible future cases,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss in a statement. Health officials also reported that the patient was recently in close contact with someone infected with orthopox but privacy laws prevented the disclosure of specific information.

There have been 40 reported cases of monkeypox across California to date but health officials say the threat to public health remains low. Monkeypox can be contracted through close contact, through skin, the respiratory tract, through mucus membranes in the eyes or mouth or through sexual contact.

“It is vital that a person who suspects they have monkeypox or are experiencing symptoms contact their health care provider right away,” according to Alameda County Communicable Disease Controller Dr. Kavita Trivedi. “We are ready to receive more reports from health care providers, provide guidance, connect possible cases to testing, and contact trace.”

Whale carcass causing stink on Richmond shore

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Officials with the City of Richmond are working to clear the carcass of a whale off the shore after floating in the San Francisco Bay since early April, CBS reports.

The deceased marine mammal was first spotted in the waters near the USS Hornet docked in Alameda on April 4 and was later towed and tethered to Brooks Island by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

However, the tether eventually broke and the whale was once again sent adrift in the bay, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. City officials have now hired a private contractor to bury the dead animal.

"Getting rid of a beached deceased whale is not easily done – if done at all," Butt said in a statement. "In this case, the whale did not just randomly end up in Richmond as a result of tides and currents. The US Army Corps of Engineers put it there." Work to bury the animal started Thursday.

East Oakland fire destroys smoke shop, damages apartments

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A structure fire early Friday morning left a smoke shop gutted and the apartments above it damaged, leaving nine people displaced, according to authorities, East Bay Times reports.

The blaze occurred in the 2400 block of Foothill Boulevard at the corner of 24th Avenue at approximately 2:20 a.m. Investigators say the fire started in the smoke shop before quickly spreading to the two apartments above, according to Battalion Fire Chief Chris Landry.

The fire was brought under control by a crew of 18 firefighters in less than half an hour. Firefighters returned to the scene at 5:27 a.m. after a small flare-up was reported and extinguished.

The overall damage is estimated at $500,000, according to Landry.

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