San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak Grows, With 421 Illnesses and 16 Deaths Reported

San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak Grows, With 421 Illnesses and 16 Deaths Reported

San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak Grows, With 421 Illnesses and 16 Deaths Reported

Around 15 people have passed away, and other hundreds have been hospitalized due to hepatitis A outbreak that's taken place all over San Diego's center.

To eliminate the virus outbreak, the city has provided around 40 hand washing stations and the spraying of the bleach solution in the streets. The County Board of Supervisors declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

Amid an outbreak across San Diego County that health officials say has led to 16 deaths and almost 300 hospitalizations, workers were power-washing areas in downtown San Diego earlier this week with water laced with chlorine and bleach, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

While the city has worked on finding housing opportunities for the homeless, the decision also comes in the wake of a deadly hepatitis A outbreak, which has largely impacted the homeless. 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.

"We're probably going to be doing them every other Monday, see how that works out at least for the time being", Jose Ysea, a city spokesman, was reported as saying.

On Tuesday, the city began a pilot program to keep 14 public restrooms in Balboa Park open 24 hours a day. In an August 31 letter from the county health department, officials asked the city to move forward with the sanitation measures and gave the city five days to respond with a plan, according to the LA Times.

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"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", said Craig Gustafson, senior director of communications for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The homeless population has been hit the hardest.

"Frankly we can't take any more time worrying what group will be offended, lives are on the line, we need to take action", the mayor said. According to a statement from San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency, it has also infected the illicit drug users, and others who are neither. In total, the city has provided vaccinations to approximately 19,000 people.

"I literally had no idea until yesterday which is kind of scary", Laura Johnson, a small business owner downtown, said.

Workers will be power washing the downtown streets of San Diego with a bleach-based substance.

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