San Diego taking steps to curb homeless problem, hepatitis A outbreak


In January's annual tally of the area's transient population, 5,619 homeless individuals were counted in the city of San Diego, a 10.3 percent increase from previous year.

At the beginning of the week, San Diego citizens started to see workers wearing white protective gear and red hard hats down East Village, spraying a bleach-based, Hepatitis-killing liquid all over the sidewalks to disappear human feces contaminated with the virus. San Diego mayoral spokeswoman Craig Gustafson said the cleanings are scheduled to occur three times a week, every other week, according to CBS8.

Meanwhile, additional San Diego police escorts will be provided for the county's mobile vaccination teams and expanded vaccination clinics will be opened at public libraries. The goal is to encourage more people to wash their hands and stop the spread of the disease. There are plans, according to the city's letter, to add more stations next week.

Sanitary street washing has commenced in downtown San Diego, and will continue until the outbreak abates. 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.

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 measures detailed plans to use bleach-spiked water for high-pressure washing to remove "all feces, blood, bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces". Of those 3,231 were living on the street.

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In addition, 40 hand-washing stations were installed in areas where the city's homeless gather, according to local news reports.

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.

"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. More than half (65%) are homeless, illicit drug users, or both. These recommend people, especially those at a higher risk, to get vaccinated.

"San Diegans are compassionate people who want to help solve this crisis".

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

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