The county received reports last week of 564 flu cases and two flu deaths, down from the previous week’s totals, health officials announced Wednesday.
This season’s flu death toll now stands at 47, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. A 96-year-old south county woman and a 56-year-old north county man died due to flu complications. Both had additional medical issues, but the county did not disclose whether they had been vaccinated.
“We’re two weeks into March and influenza is still making people sick,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “The best protection against the flu virus is getting vaccinated.”
The previous week’s report showed 618 confirmed cases of influenza — the highest number this flu season — and three deaths. The county has confirmed 6,660 flu cases to date, according to the county’s weekly flu report, roughly a third of the 18,758 confirmed cases at this point last season.
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 Service
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