San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Image via sandiegocounty.gov

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday went on record in support of state legislation that would give local public health officials a greater communication role if the event of a disease outbreak.

Assembly Bill 262 is authored Assembly members Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher; both are Democrats representing the San Diego area.

The bill would mandate that county public health officers be obligated to inform municipalities if there a communicable disease outbreak, provide needed information and offer recommendations to help a city to respond.

In March 2017, the San Diego region experienced a deadly Hepatitis A outbreak that killed 20 people and sickened nearly 600. Many victims were homeless.

The bill’s origins stem from an audit, requested by Gloria, which found there was inadequate communication between the county and city of San Diego regarding the outbreak. According to the audit, the city was slow to respond, while the county didn’t have lacked a concrete prevention plan.

Nick Serrano, spokesman for Gloria’s office, told the board that the Hep A outbreak “was a dark time in our region’s history, one we don’t want to repeat.”

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said the legislation offers a “a better playbook” for the county, by giving public health officials more control.

Serrano said the Assembly and Senate should vote on the bill this summer. If it passes, it could be on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk in the fall, he said.

— City News Service

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