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. Hepatitis A, which attacks the liver, has had a heavy impact on the homeless.
Crews will use bleach-spiked water for the high-pressure washing of surfaces that may have feces, blood or bodily fluids.
In addition to these efforts, new vaccination recommendations have been issued by the county's public health officer calling for food handlers to receive vaccination against the virus. "It makes sense that, if they're doing it there and they haven't had any cases, it could be beneficial here as well".
With the goals of reducing homelessness across the San Diego region and combating the regional hepatitis A outbreak, Mayor Kevin Faulconer was joined Wednesday by civic leaders as he announced the creation of three new temporary "bridge-to-housing" shelters. Of those, 3,231 were living on the streets. The county also installed 40 hand-washing stations in areas where homeless people tend to gather. 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.
"By disinfecting our sidewalks and making additional public restrooms available 24/7, we're following the direction of County health officials to address the unsanitary conditions that have helped fuel this outbreak", Gustafason said, according to the San Diego Tribune. This is reportedly an attempt by the authorities of putting an end to the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. This represents a significant expansion of our homeless service network and is one of the most immediate and effective actions we can take to provide relief to unsheltered people who are suffering and want help. "A person who becomes infected with hepatitis A may spread the disease to others before experiencing symptoms". More than half (65%) are homeless, illicit drug users, or both. 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. They recommend that those who are at high risk, including homeless San Diegans and those who work with the homeless, get vaccinated. In addition, another small business owner in San Diego named Jamie Miller, who was also shocked when he knew about the outbreak, told NBC 7 that "It sounds like a insane thing to have on the streets in a first world city".