SAN DIEGO – With a program in place to regularly sanitize the sidewalks in the most critical areas of downtown, the City of San Diego is now expanding those efforts to other neighborhoods based on need to combat the hepatitis A outbreak.
Cleaning began today in parts of the Midway area, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach, and crews will work in Uptown and Mid-City on Friday. Sidewalk sanitizing is one of the key actions the City is taking to assist the County of San Diego’s efforts to eradicate the virus.
“We are expanding cleaning efforts beyond downtown to other areas where we know homeless individuals are living in unsanitary conditions,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This is going to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our neighborhoods safe, and our aggressive sanitation schedule will continue for as long as needed to address this public health emergency.”
On Sept. 11, the City began power washing sidewalks with a bleach solution in different areas downtown three times weekly, following the guidelines set by the County Public Health Officer to effectively kill the hepatitis A virus. The City continues to monitor conditions downtown and throughout other communities, and will modify its sanitation schedule as needed going forward. At this time, officials estimate downtown sidewalk locations will be sanitized every other week, allowing for the crew to operate in other communities on alternate weeks.
To report public areas in need of power washing, residents can contact their City Council representative, call the City’s dispatch center at 619-527-7500 or make an online request at sandiego.gov. City staff will dispatch work crews to assess the issue and determine if cleaning is necessary. It is important to share as much detail as possible when you make a report. Provide an address, a specific location at the address (sidewalk, gutter or street, for example) and, when reporting online, photos are helpful. Please note that the City will not be power washing privately-owned properties.
Medical experts have advised that the three steps to stop the outbreak of hepatitis A are vaccination, sanitation and education, with a particular emphasis on vaccination. In response to the hepatitis A outbreak, several actions have been taken by the City to assist County health officials in preventing the further spread of hepatitis A:
- Offering free vaccinations. Coordinating with American Medical Response and the Downtown San Diego Partnership to connect 1,278 individuals with free vaccinations at Golden Hall, and hosting County vaccination clinics at several City libraries. To date, more than 42,000 people have been vaccinated throughout the County.
- Connecting with individuals at risk. Since June, the San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team has connected the County’s nurses to some of the hardest to reach at-risk individuals living in encampments and other areas, serving as a critical conduit of education and vaccination to those who need it most.
- Adding more public restrooms. The City has opened three new secure 24-hour restroom facilities, each with four separate stalls.
- Installing 63 handwashing stations. Working with the County, the City has sited handwashing stations to ensure all individuals have the opportunity to wash their hands.
- Educating the community. The City is providing consistent information and education to community members about hepatitis A and ways to prevent the outbreak’s spread.