San Diego Taking Steps to Combat Hepatitis A Outbreak

The county health department sent a letter to San Diego officials on Friday, demanding the city take steps to combat the rise of hepatitis A cases among the homeless population.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the letter expressed demands that the city improve the sanitary conditions among places homeless individuals were known to congregate. Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Tom Christensen reported that, in response to these orders, the city will be erecting new hand-washing stations around the city. He states that the first is to appear near Neil Good Day Center in downtown San Diego with more to come in Balboa Park.

In the letter, chief administrator for the county Helen Robbins-Meyer outlined a sanitation plan requiring city workers “take immediate action to address the unsanitary living conditions of the at-risk population." The letter was originally addressed to Scott Chadwick, the city’s chief operating officer. The city has five days to implement these orders.

Over those five days, city officials are required to expand access to restrooms and wash stations, increase the number of wash stations within the city, and perform weekly pressure washings of public right of ways to remove “all feces, blood, bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces.”

The outbreak has been going on since 2016, killing at least 15 people. 379 confirmed cases have been reported with over 200 hospitalizations as a result of the disease. Until recently, the city had done little to deal with the problem, though progress is finally being made however slowly.

The letter offered specific locations where hand-washing stations were to be installed, with over 30 listed in total due to being high traffic among the city's homeless population. Permits are being pushed through to allow the construction of the stations, hopefully meaning a cleaner and safer city for everyone, including its most vulnerable members.


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