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County Grand Jury report finds deficiencies in the hepatitis response



SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA – A San Diego County grand jury report released on Thursday identified "a number of deficiencies" in existing plans and procedures for addressing local health emergencies, such as the recent outbreak of hepatitis A, the 20 people killed [196592002] During the outbreak, which was first diagnosed in March 2017 and lasted until early 2018, more than 600 people fell ill with the highly contagious hepatitis A virus liver disease. The largest US hepatitis A outbreak in 25 years was at the center of the city's growing homeless population and spread due to lack of access to basic sanitation, health officials said.

County and City of San Diego officials have been criticized for not responding quickly to the outbreak, and for not cooperating after it was identified. Although the Grand Jury's report praises certain relief efforts, including foot-in-the-wing vaccination teams, it generally supports allegations that the officials used a delayed and uncoordinated response.

In the six months between the declaration of the outbreak and the declaration of a health emergency In September, 1

5 people died and 420 became infected.

Indication of a crisis is significant as it gives the State Health Commissioner the legal authority to direct health-related activities rather than just counseling. The report noted that an earlier statement would have allowed officials more effective means to contain the outbreak.

"When a local health emergency was declared, the epidemic peaked and the number of new cases declined," the report said. "Much of this delay in implementation is due to the lack of coordination and cooperation between the city and the district."

The district offices are responsible for monitoring and responding to public health crises. In addition, according to the grand jury, there was "little agreement" between city and district officials.

"Analysis of e-mail records revealed that the city and county were discussing a range of possible responses to the crisis, but did not implement them for several months as the disease spread and the number of deaths continued to increase" says the report.

From May 2017, district officials began to set up public toilets and hand washing stations in the city. City officials initially rejected the request, and the officials went back and forth for months until the county announced a health emergency.

City officials did not follow the procedural rules issued to the district administration in the event of health emergencies and both According to the grand jury findings, "the city authorities have found that they have relied on the district's wider experience and authority in dealing with health crises but that county is responding slowly, "Report says. "The district officials once again said that although the city responded quickly, their answers were more likely to cause obstacles than immediate corrective action."

The city would also have benefited from a "well-defined position" for a medical professional. "The city government has not yet commented on the Grand Jury's report.

The county issued its own report last week on the local response to the Ausbruch published a statement stating that the "Independent Findings of the Grand Jury in many areas are consistent with our After Action Report. We will review and, where appropriate, include their recommendations and recognize the recommendation for the foot teams. "

Both reports pointed to inadequate public health Structure of the crisis response

The Grand Jury's analysis revealed in particular that" unnecessary delays "were partially resolved The County Emergency Plan is intended to guide officials on how to deal with infectious disease emergencies, and although it is "essential in emergencies that the responsibilities of the various authorities are clearly defined", the District Emergency Plan will include five officials from the district Unidentified public health workers who can take the lead in crises

"The alleged leader is undefined, leading to insecurity and delays when leadership and action are needed," the report said.

Zurüc k:

By KEVIN TREVELLYAN / City News Service

Photo: A nurse gives a man a chance as part of the district's efforts to spread hepatitis A to stop. Photo via County News Center

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