County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - May 2023

Public Health Newsletter - May 2023
Marin County Public Health Newsletter - May 2023
In this Issue: Hepatitis C | Xylazine | Vaccine Storage | Back to School | COVID-19 Sniffing Dogs I Message from the Public Health Officer
A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officers.
Hepatitis C: Lifting Barriers to Screening and Treatment

Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver failure in Marin County. Effective and affordable treatments aHepatitis C Posterre now widely available. Marin Public Health and the coalition of community providers has set a goal of at least 100 Hepatitis C treatment starts in 2023. The CDC recommends screening all adults for Hepatitis C. Public Health is offering 30 minute primers on the latest screening and treatment guidelines for all Marin healthcare providers, in person or online. Contact to schedule a Hep C primer or to join the Marin Hepatitis C Coalition. You can track progress on our new Hepatitis C dashboard.

Xylazine, an Emerging Overdose Threat, Detected in Marin Wastewater

On April 27, a Marin County Public Health Advisory alerted local providers that Xylazine (Tranq), a powerful veterinary tranquilizer, had been detected in local wastewater signifying increased risk for overdose in our community. Marin’s wastewater-based surveillance has expanded beyond infectious diseases. This is another example of the advantage of wastewater-based surveillance over the alternative of measuring and responding to adverse events after they happen. This one pager on xylazine was developed for patients, and substance use and harm reduction partners.

Protecting Vaccines in Extreme Weather Events and Power Outages

In preparation for wildfire season and extended power outages, all local providers should have protocols to safely transport refrigerated and frozen vaccines, and have  backup sites for vaccine storage. CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit is a valuable guide. Clinics enrolled in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program are required to follow protocols for vaccine management, storage, and temperature monitoring

Prepare for Back to School Vaccinations

This year, Marin County childhood immunization rates have surpassed state averages for the first time on record. To build on this success, as summer approaches, Marin Public Health encourages providers to plan for back-to-school vaccinations.  Immunizations are required for childcare, TK/Kindergarten and 7th grade entry (“checkpoints”). Since January 2021, medical exemptions (MEs) must be issued online through CAIR-ME.  See CDPH’s Shots For School website, and their Exemptions FAQ for more information and resources.

COVID-Sniffing Canines Gaining Support

COVID Sniffing Dogs - Scarlett &  RizzoScarlett and Rizzo, the COVID-sniffing dogs familiar to Marin’s long term care facilities, are gaining national attention. Their effectiveness in school-based screening was described here, and they were featured nationally here. Marin Public Health’s partnership with California Department of Public Health and Early Alert Canines has helped secure another year of state funding for the virus-detecting dog pilot.

Message from the Health Officer

Public Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis

One of the lessons of the pandemic was the unique value of timely and reliable local data to guide local strategy. We’re fortunate to have a strong epidemiology team in Marin, and we continue to expand the use of data to advance local public health. Several “live” dashboards were recently developed and published to describe our progress, including the following: COVID-19; Influenza; overdose; Hepatitis C; life expectancy; and reportable communicable diseases. Please browse these resources and refer to them for your own goal-setting. These data will be updated regularly and referred to in communications with you, our clinicians, as we partner to protect the health of our community.

In gratitude,
Matt Willis

HHS Website
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Copyright ©  2023
Marin County Public Health, a division of the Marin County Health & Human Services Department

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