SAN DIEGO — A San Diego County woman died of influenza earlier this month, officials announced Wednesday, marking the fifth local death from the illness this season.

The 72-year-old woman, who died April 7, had underlying medical conditions and was not vaccinated against the flu, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. Officials did not share further identifying information.

Public health experts also reported a “spike in new flu infections,” with 207 cases reported since last week.

“I advise anyone who is at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu to take precautions,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, said in a written statement.

People considered at higher risk include:

  • Those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and lung disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years old and up
  • People who live with or care for others who are in a high-risk category

To date, the county has confirmed 2,553 flu cases in the region. That’s more than the 783 confirmed cases at this time last season but well below the previous 5-year average of 11,546. At this time last year, two people had died from the flu.

Precautions taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, like masks and social distancing, have helped reduce the spread of flu and other illnesses, according to medical experts.

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot each year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

If you would like to get a flu shot, you can use this flu vaccine locations guide from the county or call 2-1-1.

People should also wash their hands thoroughly, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, clean commonly touched surfaces and stay away from sick friends or family members. The county urges residents to stay home and avoid contact with others when experiencing flu-like symptoms.