Downtown businesses take steps to fight Hepatitis A outbreak

Restaurants, apartments taking extra precautions

San Diego - As the San Diego City and County government increase efforts to fight the Hepatitis A outbreak, several downtown businesses and apartment complexes are taking matters into their own hands.

The Lofts at 655 Sixth recently posted a letter on the door of every resident. It warns them about the outbreak. It also details a handful of steps the complex is taking to keep the disease at bay.

The letter reminds residents to "refrain from allowing strangers to enter into the building." It also says the complex has power-washed the perimeter, and taken "additional steps to help keep the community's common areas clean," although it doesn't specify what those steps are.

People who live there tell 10News they were happy to hear the complex is taking the matter seriously.

"I think it's good they're spreading awareness and making sure everybody's safe," says Amanada Johnson. She also says she's taken the extra step of wiping her dog's feet after every walk.

Across the street from the Lofts, the Mina Lounge has maintenance workers pour a bleach solution on their patio and scrub the bricks. It happens every day before they open.

In the East Village, the Indigo Hotel is warning visitors about the outbreak. An employee also told 10News they're doing more cleaning around the building to fight the disease.

As of September 19, the County Health and Human Services Agency says 444 cases of the disease have been reported. Most of them have come from the city's large homeless population. Sixteen people have died from the disease, and 305 were sent to the hospital.

In the past month, City and County governments have added hand washing stations and portable bathrooms to the downtown area. They've also power washed streets and sidewalks. Homeless outreach groups and County health workers have been giving out free vaccines as well.

Johnson says it's good that businesses are now getting involved, as it will take a group effort to fight the disease.

"Everybody's doing the best they can," she says. "The city, the people, that's the best way."

For more information about the disease, and the County's plans to fight it, click here.

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