SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — County health officials say 12 new flu-related deaths have been recorded in the last week, as cases also trend upward.
The new influenza deaths included a 34-year-old East County woman with an underlying medical condition who died from influenza A, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency. This season, there have been 32 deaths in the county related to the flu, compared to 24 deaths at this time last season.
The county says 2,292 local lab-confirmed cases were also reported last week. In comparison, only 487 confirmed cases were reported during the same week last year. This season's to-date total sits at 9,919 cases, passing the 9,655 cases reported all of last season.
“The number of deaths and cases being reported are a sign that influenza is not easing up,” said Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “Vaccination is the best defense we have against the flu. People who have not gotten immunized should do it now.”
County medical experts recommend residents protect themselves against the virus by frequently washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding contact with sick people.
The flu vaccine is available at local doctors' offices, pharmacies, and public health centers. A list of locations offering flu shots can be found on the county's immunization website or by calling 211 for the county's health hotline.
Local health officials and the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive a vaccine, especially those at higher risk of complications from the flu such as pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, and locals 65 or older.