Read the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune here. Copied below in its entirety:
Crews from the company Clean Harbors began power-washing sidewalks and street areas with a bleach and chlorine solution in downtown San Diego on Monday as part of an effort to stop the spread of hepatitis A among homeless people.
The area cleaned Monday included sidewalks around 17th Street and Imperial Avenue, where hundreds of homeless congregate and live in tents and other shelters along city streets. The cleanings will continue in other downtown areas on Wednesday and Friday and repeat every other week.
A hepatitis A outbreak has left 15 homeless people dead and hospitalized nearly 300 others over the past 10 months. A lack of adequate access to restrooms, showers and hand-washing stations is believed to have contributed to the spread.
Besides starting the washing program Monday, the city announced it was extending the hours of 14 restrooms in Balboa Park, which will be open 24 hours a day starting Tuesday.
“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 Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We’re taking swift action to eradicate this virus from our streets and keep our most vulnerable residents safe.”
On Friday, Gustafson said Faulconer expected to announce this week a plan to set up multiple large tents to provide temporary, immediate shelter relief for hundreds of homeless people. Those tents will be equipped with restrooms, hand-washing stations and showers, he said.
The sidewalk washings and extended restroom hours this week were in response to a letter sent by county health official Aug. 31 asking the city to move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions to help control the spread of hepatitis A.
The county gave the city five business days to respond with the plan for remedying what it called a “fecally contaminated environment” downtown.
On Monday, county Communications Director Michael Workman said health officials still were evaluating the city’s response to the request.
The county also has taken steps to address the outbreak and plans to expand its efforts to other cities in the region soon.
County health officials already have provided hepatitis vaccinations to 19,000 people, including 7,300 considered to be at-risk of contracting the disease. The county also hired its own contractor to install 40 hand-washing stations in areas where the homeless often gather, and it has plans to install more this week.
The city has identified three downtown areas to be cleaned every other week. Monday’s areas included the sidewalks along Imperial Avenue below the Interstate 5 overpass, where the city had installed jagged rocks in an attempt to deter homeless people from camping in April 2016. Homeless people still used the site, prompting a need to wash the area.
The Monday cleaning area also includes streets north of National Avenue, south of F Street, west of 22nd Street and east of 10th Avenue. It also includes several blocks north of F Street and south of B Street between 10th Avenue and 17th Street.
On Wednesdays, crews will move west and clean streets north of Broadway, south of Fir Street, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.
On Fridays, crews will clean streets north of Harbor Drive, south of Broadway, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.
It wasn’t that long ago here in Boulder, CO that citizens were up in arms, and rightly so, over the worst-behaved transients peeing and pooping along Boulder Creek upstream from the downtown area. See: City struggles to manage human waste along Boulder Creek from the Daily Camera.
After observing the new and much-ballyhooed homelessness strategy at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for over a week, featuring something called Coordinated Entry, I can tell you that it’s more of the same as we’ve seen in years past: MORE TRANSIENTS without any ties to Boulder County consuming resources that should be prioritized for local homeless residents. No doubt, some of them have recently traveled through San Diego, CA and been exposed to hepatitis A, which has killed 19 homeless people and hospitalized 300 others in recent months in that city.
Yet, the do-gooders in our local homeless shelter / services industry continue to welcome the BUMS with open arms. Their creed: More Homeless People = More Money.