MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Efforts continue in Martin County to end the hepatitis A outbreak.
The Florida Department of Health in Martin County extended its hours by three hours Thursday to allow more time for people to get a vaccine.
Within the first hour, health officials say about 100 people were vaccinated.
The Hepatitis A case count has been holding steady at 19 for about a week, but health officials say more cases are expected. The extended hours were a way to try to protect as many people as possible.
Martin County resident Steven Orazi was among those to get the vaccine Thursday night. “It’s concerning,” Orazi said. “My age and the work that I do sometimes puts me into a situation where I could contract it with wastewater and things like that.”
With his schedule, he says he has not been able to get to a doctor or other clinic during business hours. He does not fit the profile for people considered ‘high risk’, but still wanted to get the vaccine.
“I just got off work, so I wouldn’t be able to make it to my doctor or anything like that to get it. When they said it was available after hours, that was great,” Orazi said.
Clint Sperber, the administrator for the Department of Health in St. Lucie County, who is among the team of officials supporting Martin County, hopes people will continue to get vaccinated.
“We want to reinforce there are enough vaccines statewide and here in Martin County for anyone who needs and wants to get vaccinated,” Sperber said.
Sperber said the health department continues to work with fire rescue to go out into the community to find the homeless who might not be able to travel to a clinic.
Health officials say two of the 19 confirmed cases were people who were homeless.
The investigation into any possible sources of the virus is still underway.
“Trying to trace back where they were and looking for different types of links. So, I anticipate that wrapping up fairly shortly,” Sperber said.
The Florida Department of Health in Martin County will resume normal business hours Friday.