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Northern Kentucky shelter trying to stay ahead of Hepatitis A

Posted at 3:51 AM, Dec 10, 2018

COVINGTON, Ky. - With temperatures around freezing, the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky is starting to see its winter spike.

And this year it isn't just fighting the cold and flu viruses. Another concern is Hepatitis A.

But the staff here says they have it covered.

They see a lot of contagious illnesses. "Lots of colds, flu, bronchitis,” Executive Director Kim Webb told WCPO. "Our space is very confined. Right? We have a lot of individuals in this building."

So it's important to stay ahead of the game in order to keep the 240 adults they've seen so far this winter safe.

 "Trying to stay ahead of that,” Webb said. “We did a few things in shelter. Brand new paper towel dispensers. Bleach water spray bottles in all the bathrooms. The signs are up in shelter that say, ‘Wash your hands.’ That's really important."

Webb said they've worked hand-in-hand with the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

 "They came down during the summer. We talked about Hep-A. We got our staff vaccinated. We offered the opportunity for any guest to come into shelter to come and get vaccinated. A vaccination will go a long way,” Webb said.

 "Northern Kentucky right now is experiencing an outbreak,” said Steve Devine, Director of Environmental Health and Safety,  “That's why our message is for quite some time now is everyone gets the shot. You never know when you're going to come in contact with somebody who has Hepatitis A."

Webb said the shelter could use donations of cleaning supplies. 

"We do our part to make sure we have the necessary cleaning supplies. We'd like to have hand soap, bleach, and spray bottles to make sure we're cleaning our surfaces," she said.

Winter hasn’t even arrived yet officially, so she knows the need will only increase.

So far,  prevention seems to be working. The shelter reports no issues so far related to Hep-A.

Webb said they provide 75 beds when the temperature is above freezing. When it's below freezing, like it's been recently, they do their best to make sure nobody is turned away.