San Diego taking steps to curb homeless problem, hepatitis A outbreak

San Diego taking steps to curb homeless problem, hepatitis A outbreak

A total of 256 mass vaccination events as well as 109 "foot teams" consisting of public health nurses who have been deployed into areas heavily populated with homeless people to offer vaccinations.

The victims have been mainly homeless people, who have been coming to the city in significantly increasing numbers.

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency said in a statement the majority of the 421 reported cases relating to the hepatitis A outbreak across the county were among the homeless and drug users. According to the San Diego Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA), as of September 5, 2017, the current outbreak has infected 398 people and caused 279 hospitalizations.

Crews from the company Clean Harbors began power-washing sidewalks with a chlorine solution in downtown San Diego on Monday as part of an effort to stop the spread of hepatitis A among homeless people. There were 5,619 people reported homeless in San Diego earlier this year, 3,231 of whom were living on the streets without shelter, according to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected to make a "major announcement" Wednesday morning regarding the city of San Diego's ongoing homelessness issue - hours before a proposal to declare an emergency in the city over a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A is scheduled to go before the City Council's Select Committee on Homelessness. Meanwhile, San Diego County requested that city move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions created to help control the spread of the disease. Their letter asked authorities to regularly pressure-wash dirty right-of-way roads with chlorinated water, and gave them five business days to enact policy to remedy the situation. The county also plans to expand its efforts to other cities. To do so, San Diego will be power washing its streets with bleach, to "hopefully remove all feces, blood, bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces", according to a sanitation plan report. A lack of adequate access to restrooms, showers and hand-washing stations is believed to have contributed to the spread.

The county also asked the city to "immediately expand access to public restrooms and wash stations within the city limits that are adjacent to at-risk populations".

She said county health officials informed her that the virus can survive in the water for a few months. According to the San Diego County News Center, with the help of community partners, clinicians have successfully immunized over 19,000 individuals, 7,300 of which were considered to be at high-risk for infection.

This is critical, as our downtown area is famed for some awesome restaurants.



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