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Amidst Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak, Largest Provider of Homeless Services In San Diego Speaks Out

Father Joe's Villages President and CEO Deacon Jim Vargas and Medical Directo...

Above: Father Joe's Villages President and CEO Deacon Jim Vargas and Medical Director Jeffrey Norris take questions about the impact of San Diego's deadly hepatitis A outbreak, Sept. 20, 2017.

Father Joe’s Villages provides shelter to nearly 1,900 homeless people a day. The nonprofit said they have found confirmed cases at their facility.

"I personally have lost one of my patients who I'd seen for almost two years," said Father Joe's Medical Director Jeffrey Norris. "I've actually had some of our medical assistants within our clinic and actually come to me and say I think that person has hepatitis A, there eyes are yellow they are feeling sick."

Together, Father Joe's and San Diego County Health and Human Services have worked to vaccinate around 1,200 people at the shelter. Handwashing stations have also been set up outside the facility.

RELATED: El Cajon Takes Steps To Tackle Hepatitis A Outbreak

"They are definitely using them," said Father Joe's President and CEO Deacon Jim Vargas. "And we know they are using them because they run out, very often and they have to be refilled. And that is OK."

Father Joe's has also worked to keep public restrooms open 24 hours a day. Vargas said none of the shelter's workers or volunteers have been infected with hepatitis A.

Father Joe's Villages said they have found confirmed cases of hepatitis A in their shelter and at least one person has died.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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