How to help slow the spread of COVID-19 among people living homeless

People experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease. COVID-19 is the most recent and deeply concerning example of that threat. For a population with higher levels of underlying health conditions, less access to resources necessary to stay healthy, and a greater likelihood of living in congregate settings like shelters adds up to an increased risk for infection and severe illness.

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Update on Hepatitis A outbreak

April 2020 marks one year since we announced the first case of locally-acquired hepatitis A in a person living homeless in King County. We identified this case in the context of many cities and states across the country experiencing large outbreaks of hepatitis A among people living homeless or who use drugs.

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New cases, including one death, in hepatitis A outbreak

While our community has been fortunate in that to-date we have not experienced an outbreak on the scale seen in other large cities and states across the country, we have seen a recent increase in hepatitis A cases in King County, including one death associated with hepatitis A.

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Updates on Hepatitis A Outbreak

As we’ve reported previously on Public Health Insider, many urban areas in the United States have been grappling with hepatitis A outbreaks, especially among people living homeless and people who use drugs (injection and non-injection). Some states have seen hundreds or even thousands of cases, and a high proportion of these cases have resulted in […]

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Gone but not forgotten — 2019

Every few years, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office (KCMEO) hosts a unique memorial to ensure that every King County resident is remembered. Those who died without resources or family to claim their remains for a proper burial are looked after through the work of the county’s indigent remains program. The next ceremony to remember these individuals […]

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Recognizing deaths among people experiencing homelessness

Nearly 3,000 deaths are investigated by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office (KCMEO) every year. And for more than a decade, the Medical Examiner has partnered with the Health Care for the Homeless program to research and identify which of those people were presumed to be experiencing homelessness.
“We do this work to help the community both pay attention and remember. When people are remembered, they are treated with more dignity,” said John Gilvar, program manager for Health Care for the Homeless, which is part of Public Health—Seattle & King County.

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