San Diego County Taking Steps to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

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In light of the continued spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, San Diego County is taking preventative measures to ensure the infection does not spread among the at-risk homeless community. The County’s Health and Human Services Agency has announced they will be placing hand washing stations in cities and unincorporated areas in the effort to maintain proper hygiene. 

So far, 66 handwashing stations have been placed within the city of San Diego in areas commonly attended by those experiencing homelessness. Six more stations have been placed in Carlsbad, and 14 in unincorporated areas of the county, including Lakeside, Spring Valley, Ramona, and Fallbrook. 

“Next to sequestering those who are ill, frequent and proper handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We’re placing stations across the region so that people who are homeless can have a place to wash their hands with soap and water.”

The County also announced that it will be sending Homeless Outreach Teams into communities to help educate and inform people who are homeless on how to best protect themselves from contracting the disease. Supply kits containing useful information will be handed out to homeless individuals to help them best prepare for a potential outbreak. 

In addition, the County is increasing the presence of public health nurses at the City of San Diego’s bridge shelters to help screen people for symptoms of respiratory illness. The situation will be continually monitored to determine ongoing support needed to ensure that these shelters are provided the required care for its residents. The County is also preparing to enhance its ability to house people who may need to be quarantined if the needs arise. 

As of March 10, HHSA has placed 76 patients under investigation, with 56 testing negative and 20 still pending. We are monitoring these people daily and taking appropriate actions when they develop symptoms,” Wooten said. “It’s important to remember that if you did not have close contact to the patient with COVID-19, the risk of infection is still low.”

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