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By Jose A. Alvarez
San Diego County Communications Office 

Flu deaths increase to 74, cases decrease in San Diego


Last updated 3/4/2020 at 12:17am

The number of local influenza deaths increased to 74 after 11 additional fatalities were reported last week, compared to 41 at this time last season, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced recently.

The new flu deaths include a 26-year-old woman from South County who died Feb. 13 from influenza B. Only two of the 11 reported deaths occurred last week, and all had underlying medical conditions.

“Influenza can be deadly, especially for those with existing chronic health conditions,” Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer, said.

The number of lab-confirmed cases decreased last week, when 1,232 cases were reported. That’s 402 fewer flu cases compared to the previous week.

Also, fewer people showed up at local emergency departments with influenza-like illness last week; 6% of all visits. The figure was 7% the week before.

The county Health and Human Services Agency publishes the Influenza Watch weekly report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the region.

For the week ending Feb. 22, the report showed 17,935 lab-confirmed cases to date, compared to 5,486 last season.

When to seek medical help

People with influenza-like symptoms continue to crowd local emergency departments and are taxing some hospitals.

County health officials are encouraging people who are sick to first contact their health care provider by telephone or arrange an urgent appointment. You should go to an emergency department when you have any of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; chest pain or abdominal pain. sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting or flu-like symptoms that appear to get better, but then return with a fever and worse cough.

How to prevent the flu

People should also do the following to avoid getting sick:

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.


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