San Diego Hepatitis Outbreak: New Restrooms Added With 24-Hour Security

September 18, 2017 Updated: September 18, 2017

A recent outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego has prompted health officials to try new ways to stop the virus from spreading across the city, including washing down sidewalks with bleach and vaccinating more than 19,000 people, Newsweek reported.

But on Saturday, Sept. 16, a new emergency measure was added—restrooms with 24-hour security.

City officials announced in a press release that four new portable restrooms were added at the intersection of First Avenue and C-Street near City hall.

The restroom facilities will be cleaned at least twice a day and will be monitored with full-time security to keep the area safe for users. A handwashing station will also be added on the site.

“The installation of more public restrooms is important to stop the spread of hepatitis A,” Jonathan Herrera, the City’s Senior Advisor on Homelessness Coordination, said in a statement. “This is one of the many steps the City is taking to assist the County of San Diego in addressing this public health emergency.”

The city plans to add more restrooms over the next few weeks. They already have 20 (including Saturday’s new restrooms) that serve the downtown area.

The other 16 restrooms in the city can be seen here on this map.

Other new actions identified by city officials include:

  • Implementing new sanitation methods to clean sidewalks
  • Installing 41 new handwash stations in downtown
  • Offering free vaccination clinics at City libraries, including a clinic at the Central Library on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Just last week the mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, announced they would be erecting three temporary bridge shelters that would accommodate hundreds of homeless people and provide supportive services for transitioning to permanent housing.

Most of the people infected by the recent hepatitis outbreak that sickened 421 and killed 16 were homeless or used illegal drugs.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health director, was forced to declare a state of emergency on Sept 1.

“San Diegans are compassionate people who want to help solve this crisis. Their government must channel that compassion into action,” Mayor Faulconer said in a statement. “Offering more clean and safe spaces that transition the homeless from living on the streets to living in a permanent home is exactly what San Diego needs right now.”

The facilities will each consist of large industrial tents with more than 100 beds with restrooms, showers, meals and 24-hour security, according to the press release.