Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

15 dead in hepatitis outbreak as San Diego starts street washing

15 dead in hepatitis outbreak as San Diego starts street washing

The bridge shelters, as they're being called will have showers, restrooms and hand-washing stations.

"No common sources of food, beverage or drugs have been identified that have contributed to this outbreak, though investigation is ongoing", according to the department.

Contractors started spraying down areas Monday with the diluted household bleach solution, continued Wednesday, and are set to hit the final zone of downtown by Friday, according to a city spokesperson. "I saw human feces, meth cookers, syringes, stolen property - and all of this will flow right to the ocean if it is not cleaned up, and it will spread hepatitis A virus".

San Diego County ordered the city to begin a specific sanitation plan to combat the spread of the disease. Michael Workman, the county communications director, said in an email that the city's response was "being reviewed and evaluated", the Los Angeles Times reported. Now, the city is implementing an extension on public restrooms hours, opening the possibilities for these homeless people to find the toilets available 24/7. 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.

DeMaio is calling on the Mayor to declare a public health emergency with the recent Hepatitis A outbreak - a move that could empower law enforcement to force homeless individuals off the streets and into treatment programs.

"The issue is getting people, especially those who might be living on the street, into care and getting the series (of shots)", Saag adds. In 2016, the annual count in San Diego estimated that at least 8,669 people were homeless, but the Zillow study said that the number was actually 11,149, a difference of 28.6 percent.

The city responded to a letter sent by San Diego County Thursday, asking the city to move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions created to help control the spread of the disease, which has killed 15 people and hospitalized almost 300, many of them homeless and living on streets without adequate access to restrooms or showers. Dozens of hand-washing stations have been installed, with more on the way. "We're taking swift action to eradicate this virus from our streets and keep our most vulnerable residents safe". They recommend that those who are at high risk, including homeless San Diegans and those who work with the homeless, get vaccinated.

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