Hepatitis A has claimed yet another life as San Diego city and county officials scramble for solutions amid an uncontrolled outbreak that has now killed 16, and infected just over 400 people.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a new plan Wednesday that includes erecting massive industrial tents complete with “beds, showers, restroom and hand washing stations:”
“We are in a crisis that calls for action,” Faulconer said in a morning press conference in a parking lot at 14th and Commercial streets downtown, one of the three tent sites.
The tents can hold at least 100 people and up to 250. A second downtown tent operated by the Alpha Project is planned for a vacated street at 16th Street and Newton Avenue, and a third tent run by Veterans Village of San Diego is planned for the 2700 block of Sports Arena Boulevard, behind a Goodwill store.
The two organizations previously had run winter shelter programs with similar tents at those sites for the site.
Besides providing temporary shelter for hundreds of people sleeping in storefronts, canyons and on sidewalk encampments, Faulconer said the plan could help stop a hepatitis A outbreak that has left 16 people dead and hospitalized almost 300.
San Diego health officials are concerned that the disease has spread within the homeless community because of a lack of sanitary amenities such as restrooms and hand-washing stations. The number of confirmed cases is up 23 this week, to 421. Hospitalizations have also increased to 292 from 279.
Breitbart News reported last week on the clash between the city and the county that is finally resulting in long overdue action — but some fear it may be too little, too late.
The chairman of the city’s Select Committee on Homeless, Councilman Chris Ward, made it clear the tents would merely be a stopgap, emergency measure, and that the real goal was permanent housing for the city’s homeless. “Downtown has reached a dangerous tipping point,” he told the Tribune.