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SAN DIEGO — Public health officials warned families Wednesday that a “late-season surge” in influenza cases is leaving more San Diegans sick.

Last week, county labs confirmed 189 flu cases in the region, “far exceeding the number of infections identified during the same week in previous seasons,” the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said in a news release.

Just seven flu cases were reported at this time last year when officials attributed a less-severe season at least partially to COVID-19 safety measures. But Wednesday’s total was also well above the five-year average for this week in a typical season, which is 35 cases.

“By this time, the influenza season should be winding down, but that is not what we are seeing this year. Cases have increased and remained steady over the past few weeks,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Many San Diegans are getting sick with influenza week after week. If you have not gotten vaccinated, you should do it now. Remember, it is not too late to vaccinate!”

People at particular risk for developing complications from the flu include:

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

If you’re trying to decide where to get a flu shot in San Diego County, you can use this Health and Human Services Agency locator page.

Beyond getting vaccinated, the county shared the following tips for avoiding the flu:

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

Five people have died from the flu so far this season.