San Diego County Wednesday reported 134 new lab- confirmed influenza cases in the past week, bringing the total case count for this season to 2,233 — nearly triple the number reported at this time last season.
The 134 new cases are 23 fewer than the previous week, when 157 were reported. However, in comparison, the prior five-year average was 11,363 cases by the same week.
“Influenza activity appears to be slowing down in the region, but immunocompromised San Diegans should continue to use precautions,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “People who are at higher risk of having serious complications from the flu virus and have not received their flu shot should consider getting vaccinated to prevent illness.”
According to the county Health and Human Services Agency’s most recent Influenza Watch Report for the week ending April 9:
— emergency department visits for influenza-like illness are 3% of all visits, same as the previous week;
— influenza-related deaths reported to date are four, compared to two at the same time last year.
From 2020-21, the county reported 848 influenza cases and two deaths. During the 2019-20 flu season, the county reported over 20,700 flu cases and 108 deaths.
According to the county, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.
The CDC also says that a person can get a flu and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time. The coronavirus vaccine does not work against influenza and vice versa, county officials said.
According to the county, the flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus, including those with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease; pregnant women; those 65 years and older; or people living with or caring for others at higher risk.
The flu vaccine is available at private doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies, and is covered by medical insurance. Those with no health care coverage may get the vaccine at one of the county’s six public health centers or a local community clinic.
Information is available by calling 2-1-1 San Diego or visiting https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/immunization_branc h/Vaccine_Preventable_Diseases/Seasonal_Influenza/Flu_Vaccine_Locations.html.
The county also recommends that residents:
— wash hands thoroughly and often or use hand sanitizers;
— avoid sick people, or touching their eyes, nose, and mouth;
— clean commonly touched surfaces; and
— stay home and avoid contact with others, if they are sick.
–City News Service, Inc.