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Central Florida residents struggle to get tested for, vaccinated against monkeypox

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Despite a rise in monkeypox cases, Central Florida say they are still struggling to get tested and cured.

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Orange County has 32 confirmed cases of monkeypox, up more than 10 from last week.

While the threat to the general public remains low, Florida is still one of the top states with the disease, and it’s getting tougher for people to seek care.

One local man said he’s been struggling to get proper care ever since he was exposed to monkeypox.

READ: Volusia County reports first confirmed case of monkeypox, 7 cases confirmed across Central Florida

“I contacted the state health department; they said they didn’t have protocols,” he said. “I contacted the CDC, they said they didn’t have protocols in place.”

He tried to get a mouth-swab test, and while awaiting results tried to get a vaccine but didn’t have any luck no matter where he tried.

“They said I had to wait for a positive result to get any treatment, then Monday I went down there and he promised me they’d get us taken care of,” Hewitt said.

READ: What is monkeypox and what are the symptoms?

In the meantime, he said he’s had extreme fatigue and rashes.

On Wednesday, he got a negative test result back, but it came after a week of stress and anxiety from lack of availability for help at clinics.

READ: Florida health officials recommend monkeypox vaccine as global outbreak continues

Nurse practitioner Jeffrey Garrett said it’s an issue he’s hearing from a lot of patients who come to get tested. He said he’s worried about what will happen if things get worse.

“We haven’t seen deaths in the U.S. yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not coming,” Garrett said. “There’s not even a clear reporting method especially if people can’t get in to be tested.”

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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