Hepatitis Data Exposure

The reporter found the records on a public data tool built by the health department in October, shortly after the hepatitis records were posted. Minutes after being notified by The Inquirer of the exposed records, the department deleted them. As such, “there was no risk to confidentiality,” said Jim Garrow, health department spokesperson.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/health-hepatitis-opioid-data-breach-20191220.html

By Nat Lash

2019 Health of the City report

PHILADELPHIA–The Health Department’s latest Health of the City report shows declines in smoking and sweetened beverage consumption, both of which are behaviors that can lead to heart disease, Philadelphia’s leading cause of death. However, chronic diseases, the opioid epidemic, and a rising rate of gun violence continue to negatively impact the overall health of the city.

https://www.phila.gov/2019-12-19-city-report-shows-mixed-bag-in-philadelphia-health-indicators/

Homeless Death Statistics

Release

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “The opioid crisis is both exacerbating the homelessness problem in Philadelphia and increasing the number of homeless people who die of drug overdoses. The health department is working with many other City agencies to reduce the number of people who become addicted and help those who are addicted – homeless or not – begin drug treatment.”

https://www.phila.gov/2019-12-19-opioid-crisis-fueling-increase-in-philadelphia-homeless-deaths/

Inquirer

And most deaths in the city’s homeless population were due to overdoses, Hersh said. That’s a sea change from just a few years ago. Between 2009 and 2015, about 37% of deaths among the homeless population were from overdoses. Between 2016 and 2018, overdoses accounted for 59% of such deaths.

By Aubrey Whelan

Getting Ready for Marijuana

At Wednesday night’s gathering, Philadelphia public health policy adviser Jeffrey Hom pointed to ad campaigns in states where marijuana is legal that echo strategies used decades ago by Big Tobacco, to make the substance look cool to young people. He also cautioned about the packaging of edible marijuana products that looks like candy bars.

https://whyy.org/articles/philadelphia-officials-are-revving-up-for-recreational-marijuana/

By Nina Feldman

Lead Testing in Charter Schools

“In consultation with the Health Department and the School District, L&I will put such a process in place,” she said.

Yet while the underlying legislation makes lead testing a prerequisite for school building occupancy, Guss could not say what penalty schools would face for skipping tests.

https://whyy.org/articles/most-philly-charter-schools-failed-to-test-water-for-lead-and-city-gave-them-a-pass/

By Ryan Briggs and Avi Wolfman-Arent