Health officials report 6 new flu deaths

SAN DIEGO¬† — With six more influenza-related fatalities reported last week, the county’s flu season death toll stands at 30, health officials announced Wednesday.

All six casualties were between 40 and 76 years old and had additional medical issues, according to the county. Only one is confirmed to have gotten a flu vaccination.

At this time last flu season, there had been 250 flu-related deaths.

“Influenza deaths are very unfortunate, but they do occur,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “People should continue to get vaccinated as the flu season is not over yet.”

Health officials counted 488 lab-confirmed flu cases countywide for the week of Feb. 2-9, up from 446 the week before, according to the county’s weekly flu report. The county has confirmed 4,423 flu cases to date this flu season, roughly a quarter of the 16,097 confirmed cases this time last year.

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.

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