Over the past several weeks, an outbreak of hepatitis A has killed 15 people and hospitalized more than 260 in San Diego. The homeless population is suffering the most, possibly because of poor hygiene. But efforts to bring hand-washing stations to downtown have been slow and small-scale as officials focused on typical bureaucratic process like permits and a pilot project.
As our Lisa Halverstadt reports, the county has only set up two hand-washing stations, and until Wednesday they were both far from the downtown streets where the outbreak has been concentrated.
“County officials have typical gripes about bureaucratic red tape, an issue with a vendor and an inability to swiftly coordinate with city officials,” Halverstadt reports. “They also insist that the plan to put out hand-washing stations must first exist as a pilot program before it can be rolled out on a larger scale.”
Hygiene is considered crucial to preventing the spread of hepatitis A. Vaccines are considered more important and thousands of them have been given to homeless people here, but the immunizations require multiple shots given over months.
Despite the urgency, “the county started with a pilot, a sluggish process that seems more befitting a plan to increase annual flu shots than to combat a fast-growing outbreak that’s left 11 dead just since the county announced its plan,” Halverstadt reports.
On Wednesday, the county moved one of the two hand-washing stations that had been in the Midway district to a downtown facility closer to the hub of the hepatitis A outbreak. There’s now a hand-washing station outside the county’s Family Resource Center at 10th Avenue and C Street.
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wait till some beggars figure out they can extort money by threatening to spit on passers by with hepatitis A saliva.
I'm waiting for the day when stories about the homeless in San Diego include some action words like "accomplished" "resolved" "funded" instead of the non-action waffle words like "considering" "exploring" "reviewing" which are featured in every story about this problem. Subjunctives don't get us anywhere at all.
@Molly Cook there is a lot of money to be made by various ways to "study" a problem