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SAN DIEGO — San Diegans are getting sick with influenza at a higher rate this season than they have in past years, local health officials say, and they’re urging residents to get their flu shot.

According to the County Health and Human Services Agency, the 257 locally recorded flu cases as of Nov. 3 sit notably higher than the previous five-year average of 182.

There are no recorded flu deaths in San Diego County so far this season. In 2020, with COVID-19 precautions in place, there were only two deaths. In 2019, there were 108.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The county has a flu vaccine locator that can help you find a place to get the shot for free, including local pharmacies and health providers.

Residents who need more help can also call 2-1-1 San Diego.

Right now, the number of local residents who have gotten their shot is lagging behind last year, the county said: 690,617 compared to 770,054 at this time last season.

“The flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus,” the county wrote. Those people include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

The county also shared these basic flu season precautions:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others