San Diego

Hepatitis A Outbreak May Impact Thanksgiving Volunteers

The Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego County has led to the death of 20 people since it began in November 2016.

As of Tuesday, the county has tallied 544 people infected and new cases continue to pop up. The outbreak is mostly impacting the homeless community--especially in Downtown San Diego and El Cajon.

The high numbers have led to extra precautions from organizations who work closely with the homeless.

Recently, a church in La Jolla ended their program that fed about 150 homeless people once a week because of lack of space and the outbreak.

But non-profit organizations, like Feed San Diego, are willing to take the risk. They say that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for them and the demand is high.

Vince Hall, CEO of Feed San Diego, told NBC 7 that more volunteers keep showing up despite the epidemic.

They've actually seen a 25 percent increase in volunteers this fiscal year compared to last.

"This community is a very compassionate community," Hall said. "San Diegans are extraordinarily generous with their time with their dollars."

Vince also mentioned that they take precaution when handling food by washing their hands, using gloves and getting vaccinated.

The number of cases related to the outbreak has decreased since September, according to the latest stats released by the county. 

While 81 new cases were reported in September, only 31 cases were reported in October.

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