San Diego County examines Hep A outbreak in new report

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The County of San Diego released a 200-page report on Thursday that examines its handling of the recent Hepatitis A outbreak that infected almost 600 people and caused 20 deaths.

The report details the county’s successes and what recommendations it has for the future. County officials have been criticized by some people who believe there was not enough action taken at the time.

“The county seems to be more interested in its [own image] rather than solving problems,” prominent homeless advocate Michael McConnell told 10News by phone Thursday. He said that from what he knows, there’s little new information in the audit.

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McConnell added it appears there’s little insight into what could’ve been done before the health concern became a full-blown epidemic.

“It certainly appears there were many flaws in the reaction,” McConnell said.

McConnell wrote a letter Thursday to state Assemblymember Todd Gloria, outlining a “disturbing timeline,” claiming county officials knew about the outbreak last March but didn't meet until May 4, "despite three deaths and 80 documented cases.”

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A state of emergency was declared in September and it was lifted in January.

Gloria recently asked for a state audit on the outbreak.

In the county’s defense, the report says it acted at the start of the outbreak by providing vaccinations, promoting sanitation and educating community medical providers.

RELATED: Audit questioning San Diego's response to hepatitis A outbreak requested

The report does, however, acknowledge the needs for better coordination among leadership, more training and improving the county’s immunization registry system, among other recommendations.

McConnell says, “I think for the most part [the county’s saying], ‘We did a great job. Here are [sic] some minor things we can change. Let this go away.'"

Assemblymember Gloria's request for an audit will be heard next week by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

The full report can be found here.

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