CDPH In The News, November 2017

CDPH in the News

INTERACTIVE MAP: What does the opioid epidemic look like in California?

Just days before President Donald J. Trump declared the opioid epidemic a National Public Health Emergency, California’s Department of Public Health released a slew of data related to opioid overdose death, prescriptions and incidence. Roughly 1,925 people died in California of opioid overdose, including 51 in Kern County, which had a death rate of 5.7 per 100,000 people, topping the state average of 4.6.
So where are opioid deaths occurring? We’ve used the data to narrow it down by zip code. Take a look at what your neighborhood looks like.

State water board scraps restrictions on toxic metal
from San Diego Union Tribune

California must go back to the drawing board and reassess limits for how much hexavalent chromium — a toxic compound made famous in the film “Erin Brokovich” — can be present in drinking water. The state water board last month eliminated a rule restricting how much of the heavy metal is permitted in drinking water supplies after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Christopher Krueger ruled that state regulators didn’t consider whether the restrictions were economically feasible.
Krueger agreed with arguments by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the Solano County Taxpayers Association that the California Department of Public Health didn’t properly analyze the economic impacts of the rule, which the plaintiffs argued would be “massively expensive.” The State Water Resources Control Board must now develop a new standard for the chemical, with more rigorous analysis of its costs.

Mendocino County’s climate change-related health impacts
from Ukiah Daily Journal

Mendocino County is a large rural county, stretching along the Pacific Coast, across fault lines and spanning miles inland to valleys full of vineyards and marijuana cultivation. It’s home to less than 90,000 people, redwood forests, wild boars and salmon. Despite its unique landscape, climate change projections show it’s set to experience changes just like any other county. Putting together public data from local and state agencies, the California Department of Public Health published a report that’s designed to help counties develop plans for the unique health impacts expected as a result of climate change.
Expecting to see increases of average January temperatures by 2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, and five degrees by 2100 in Mendocino County, among other changes, public health officials have compiled projected risks and health impacts. Their goal is to give counties the most up-to-date information so that they may make more informed public health decisions.

California’s got the fever—Valley Fever, that is

What’s native to dry southwest US soils, causes a flu-like illness that can turn deadly, and can get you cited by Cal/OSHA for letting workers be exposed? It’s Valley Fever—a disease caused by inhaling fungal spores—and California is reporting an uptick in both cases of Valley Fever, and Cal/OSHA citations arising from it. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has taken the unusual step of releasing provisional data—data showing suspect, probable, and confirmed cases of Valley Fever infection—because they are seeing a striking increase in the number of new Valley Fever cases reported in California through October 31, 2017.

Hospital will stop seeing patients amid dispute, forcing them to travel for care
from Fresno Bee

Tulare Regional Medical Center and clinics will not be open for patients beginning midnight Sunday, leaving the city without a hospital and health workers potentially without jobs. The district issued a notice Thursday afternoon stating it is voluntarily suspending its license with the state of California to operate the 112-bed hospital, clinics and other outpatient facilities. Niki Cunningham, a Fresno lawyer retained by the district board, said Thursday that she had been told by the California Department of Public Health that no new patients were being admitted.

Hepatitis A reaches beyond homeless; vaccine dwindling
from Food Safety News

An ongoing hepatitis A outbreak among more than 1,200 people in at least five states, with more than 800 hospitalizations and 40 deaths, has local and state officials struggling to meet vaccination needs. Many of the victims of the outbreak — described by the California Department of Public Health as the largest person-to-person hepatitis A outbreak in America since a vaccine for the virus became available in the mid-1990s — are homeless people or substance abusers, or both. However, a third of the 644 confirmed ill people in California and a fourth of the 495 confirmed ill people in Southeast Michigan are neither homeless nor substance abusers. Other states reporting confirmed outbreak cases are Utah, Arizona and Colorado.