Countywide influenza cases hit a season high last week, and three more residents died due to flu complications, county health officials announced Wednesday.
The county’s Health and Human Services Agency confirmed a total of 616 flu cases last week, beating last week’s season-high of 545 cases. The county has confirmed 6,094 flu cases so far this season, compared to 18,137 a year ago.
The county’s flu death toll now sits at 45 after two men, ages 44 and 33, and a 101-year-old woman died due to flu complications. The county confirmed that all three had additional medical issues, but did not disclose if they had been vaccinated. The county’s flu death toll stood at 288 at this time last flu season.
“Given the high number of cases that continue to be reported, influenza continues to be widespread throughout the community,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “It is not too late to get a flu shot.”
County health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions. Recent flu seasons have extended as late into the year as May, according to county health officials.
Flu shots are available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county’s public health centers. Residents can also call 211 or visit the county’s immunization program website, sdiz.com, for a list of county locations administering free vaccines.
— City News Services
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