Follow up to this, not much has changed. Apparently, its a public health problem enough to send out an email . . . but not enough to actually solve the problem. I don’t get it.
To recap, police are aware of someone who has lice because when they took them to detox – detox wouldn’t take them, they took the person to the hospital instead and the person left. Police suspected 6 people – this person and 5 others of having lice. Turns out, one person has had it since July, no regular shower facilities, has the shampoo, just no place to take a shower. The person the police had wasn’t aware they had it – until I told this person’s friends. Two people definitely have it, we think two others do, two do not. This is the email the public health department sent out.
From: Voegeli, Doug
Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:14 PM
To: AS GROUP; AT GROUP; CCB MPD; CCB Parks; CCB-PH Staff; CL GROUP; DCR Group; EN GROUP; EOC GROUP; Fields, Debbie; FN GROUP; HR GROUP; IT GROUP; MC GROUP; MY GROUP; TR GROUP; Veldran, Lisa
Subject: A Message from Public Health Madison & Dane County
Recently, we have become aware that a frequent visitor to the CCB was determined to have a head lice infestation. Lice are small wingless parasitic insects than can be found on the head and/or body of a person infested with the insect. Human lice are flat, have a dirty white to grayish black color, and move by crawling; these insects do not jump or fly. Lice are spread most commonly by close contact with an infested individual or direct contact with their personal belongings including, but not limited to, towels, bedding, hats, scarves, combs/brushes, or jackets. Because transmission of lice requires this direct contact between individuals, transmission in the workplace is very unlikely.
To prevent an infestation with lice avoid direct contact with individuals that may carry lice and avoid all contact with personal belongings that may harbor lice. Additional information is available at the following link (http://www.publichealthmdc.com/documents/headlice.pdf) or by contacting Public Health Madison & Dane County at (608) 266-4821.
Police also have a poster with the mugshots of the 6 people on it for “officer safety”.
So, I tried to find out what happens next. Sent October 23rd, a week ago. Sent to public health, dane county human services, the homeless contract administrators for the city and county, city community development, police department, alders and county board.
to Janel, Lynn, Jim, Sue, Carl, Tim, All, county_board_r.
So, sounds like most of you have gotten the email about people in the City County Building that have lice. Newsflash – some of them have had it since July. I tried raising the issue at the time – some volunteers in the community made some attempts and some initial actions were taken. I thought the problem was resolved. However, I learned this morning that without regular shower opportunities, at least one person with lice hasn’t taken a shower in quite some time – they have the medicated shampoo – but no shower facilities.
In July I did talk to public health staff and they said they couldn’t really do anything about it. Last night I talked to Captain Gloede who, sigh, always ends up with these issues in his lap, and he told me about the latest concerns. I talked to three of the 6 people identified this morning and it sounds like at least three people the police identified have lice. Two do not. The sixth I am uncertain about. The one the police identified for certain may not know that they have it – but one of the people I talked to this morning were going to talk to that person.
I’m wondering what the answer here is. Is there a shower they can use? Can the public health department furnish the shampoo and spray that is necessary? If not I will pay the $60 for the kits from Walgreens if I have to or someone will donate it, but I don’t know where to tell them to shower. And, is there some way we can get people the help they need and treat them with a little bit of dignity and privacy – now that everyone knows some of them have lice we may have missed that opportunity, but can we try to salvage something here?
No response except from elected officials trying to brainstorm how this could get resolved. An a shrug of the shoulders from Captain Gloede.
Yesterday, I sent this email . . . to all the same folks plus the mayor’s office, to the housing guru dude at the city and an additional staff person at public health that sent the notice out. Edited to remove gender of persons involved . . .
to Janel, Sally, Carl, Lynn, Jim, Sue, Mayor, Matthew, All, county_board_r., Doug, Tim
RE: head lice?
Anyone? Anyone doing anything about it?
Just talked to the xxx who started the whole head lice scare at the city-county building. I don’t know xxx hardly at all, I’ve only talked to xxx three times in the past. But obviously, xxx’s a well known character. xxx was sitting on my porch waiting for me to come out of the house to go to work this morning – and it seems (please tell me I’m wrong – I would like to be wrong this time) no one has done anything to help xxx get rid of it. xxx is looking for shampoo to use. So xxx came to me.
You just send out emails warning everyone to stay away from xxx but don’t help xxx get rid of it? If its such a “scare”, why aren’t you solving the problem?
Suggestions of where I can tell xxx to take a shower and wash xxx clothes in hot water (E. Johnson laundry has no hot water . . . ) Am I supposed to send xxx to one of the facilities that are used by many homeless persons, is this a wise thing to do? Will it risk just spreading the lice more?
Also, xxx also has lice but wants some privacy to take a shower and I’m guessing doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it. xxx is very private about this. xxx thinks that any place xxx takes a shower it will have to be decontaminated so xxx is afraid to take a shower where others will be in case it spreads. xxx is really embarrassed about it. xxx is also concerned two others might still have it.
If I have to, it will be my house for showers and laundry, but this is not the solution! I (and most of the time others who do this) can’t continue to be the solution for things like this. I don’t have the time. And I could go broke doing this kind of stuff. We need an agency that is supposed to deal with these things – people who get paid. We can’t rely on volunteers all the time. We need outreach workers who have built relationships with folks and have their trust. It’s not that hard – people seem to trust me to the point where I keep finding out about things like this. Why am I dealing with this and not someone paid to do it?
Is anyone going to help solve this particular problem? Anyone have a shower and laundry with hot water? I didn’t get a response from staff from my last email 6 days ago – only some of the electeds trying to think outside the box (thank you!). Let me guess, the police should deal with it?! Sigh . . .that seems to always be the answer in the end.
So, the irony is. These folks are sitting in the building with the Public Health Department and there is a locker room with showers in the basement . . . and yet . . . no obvious solutions?
Other irony, my ally here, besides the police . . . my ol’ buddy Lynn Green! Seriously, thank you Lynn!
Is there anything that Public Health can do in this regard? If not, I will find the money for the supplies that people need for the shampoo, etc. Just let me know.
Sigh . . . I wonder if the police stations have showers . . . or could Sheriff Mahoney help? I went and bought the kit yesterday, but it requires follow up and one treatment won’t be enough and I don’t have time to follow up on all this . . .
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