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County places dozens of hand washing stations to combat coronavirus among homeless

The stations have been placed near where people experiencing homelessness tend to gather, the HHSA said.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — In order to lower the future risk of coronavirus spreading among people experiencing homelessness, San Diego County has been placing handwashing stations throughout the county, the Health and Human Services Agency announced Monday.

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Since the first cases of COVID-19 in the United States last month, including several in San Diego County, the HHSA has placed 66 handwashing stations in the city of San Diego, six in Carlsbad and 14 in unincorporated areas such as Lakeside, Spring Valley, Ramona and Fallbrook. The stations have been placed near where people experiencing homelessness tend to gather, the HHSA said.

"Next to sequestering those who are ill, frequent and proper handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent COVID-19," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "We're placing stations across the region so that people who are homeless can have a place to wash their hands with soap and water."

San Diego County will send homeless outreach teams into the streets to better inform people who are homeless how to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness and distribute supply kits with more information.

Additionally, the HHSA is increasing the public health nurse presence at San Diego's bridge shelters to screen people for symptoms of respiratory issues.

The county is preparing for a potential need to house quarantined people.

There have been 22 deaths from coronavirus in the United States, while more than 3,800 people have died worldwide.