County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - August 2019

Public Health Newsletter - August 2019
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 7 - Issue 8 - August 2019
In this Issue: Public Charge | Overdose Awareness | Vaping | STD | Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Public Charge                 

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule.  This rule is a major revision of the legal test for determining eligibility for residency among legal immigrants.  Marin County has already seen a chilling effect on Medi-Cal enrollment due to fears of deportation and/or immigration restrictions.  This rule, which goes into effect October 15th, is expected to further reduce health care access for Marin's Latinx community.  Limiting access to preventative and primary care services is costly and threatens the health and well-being of our neighbors and our community. 

 Marin Recognizes Overdose Awareness Day

The Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution recognizing August 31st as International Overdose Awareness Day.  Our elected leaders have prioritized this issue since the launch of RxSafe Marin, our community-wide opioid safety coalition, in 2014.  On August 20th, Board members received a report outlining progress, including a 48% reduction countywide in opioid prescribing over four years.  Trauma-informed prevention efforts, including screening; access to addiction treatment; and client-centered pain management are cornerstones to reducing substance use disorders and opioid-related deaths in our community.

Unexplained Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Illness   

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has reported more than 20 cases in the past two months of severe acute pulmonary disease among previously healthy adults associated with vaping cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) oils.  As of August 27, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating 25 possible cases nationwide, including 1 death.  Marin County Public Health advises clinicians to remain alert and to report potential cases (by phone 415-473-4163 or email  This outbreak provides an opportunity to counsel patients about the known health risks associated with e-cigarette use and vaping.  It also highlights the importance of local efforts to curb the rise in youth vaping.

Public Health Program Spotlight:  STD Prevention and Control

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in all groups, and particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM), continues to increase in Marin.  Marin County's Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Prevention and Control program works to educate the community and provide resources to health care providers.  As students return to school, consider using pre-participation physical examinations as an opportunity to complete risk-base STD screening among Marin teens and young adults.  This population accounts for more than 1/2 of new STD infections in Marin County.

  Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer

This month, we issued a public health advisory regarding a case of meningococcal meningitis.  We have confirmed that it was serogroup B disease.  Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, most colleges and universities require meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccination prior to admission.  But most schools do not require MenB vaccinations.  As Marin students prepare to return to colleges and universities across the country, it is a great time to counsel patients on the benefits of MenB vaccination.   Have a safe holiday weekend.

Lisa Santora, MD, MPH
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Copyright (c) 2019
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
(415) 473-4163
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Our mailing address is:
3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901

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