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Regional Task Force On The Homeless Prepares For Coronavirus Spread In San Diego
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Photo by Priya Sridhar
As the coronavirus continues to spread, officials from San Diego county's Regional Task Force on the Homeless met Wednesday met to come up with a preparedness plan.
Officials said public health nurses will start visiting bridge shelters to help screen homeless people for the coronavirus. Outreach teams will hand out hygiene kits and information cards to homeless people throughout San Diego to help them better understand the symptoms.
"As a region, we should expect and prepare ourselves that this situation will get worse before it gets better," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Dr. Jeffrey Norris, medical director at Father Joe's Villages, says many of his patients are asking him about the virus. At the beginning of this week, Norris started testing anyone with a fever and a cough for flu. He says since the county doesn't have screening tests to give him for the coronavirus he can help rule it out from patients by testing for flu.
"We have gotten actually from the County of San Diego rapid flu tests so we at least have a way to find an alternative diagnosis if people are having fevers and cough, and there's good data that probably people don't get infected with both viruses at the same time," he said.
County officials said they're also working to come up with potential government buildings, motels or tents they could use should they need quarantine sites for the homeless.
"We're really focusing on those that are the most vulnerable, particularly in our bridge shelters and others, reinforcing proper sanitation, proper hygiene, you cannot have enough education on this," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The county has also set up 66 hand-washing stations across the city.
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