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Flu Death Toll Continues To Rise In San Diego County

A sanitizing station with adult and child masks awaits patients at Sharp Gros...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: A sanitizing station with adult and child masks awaits patients at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Jan. 3, 2018.

Flu Death Toll Continues To Rise In San Diego County

GUEST:

Dr. Jonathan Grein, director of hospital epidemiology, Cedars-Sinai

Sammy Totah, chief operating officer and former director of pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente

Transcript

The number of reported influenza-related deaths in the San Diego region doubled last week, bringing this season's total to 91, while the number of lab-confirmed flu cases was down, county health officials reported Tuesday.

Eleven percent of all emergency room visits in San Diego County last week were for treatment of flu-like symptoms, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. There were 2,992 lab-confirmed flu cases in the region during the same time period compared to 3,354 the previous week. The season's total now stands at 10,324 — about eight times higher than the number of cases at this time last year.

Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control for the California Department of Public Health, said it is unclear why this year's death toll is so high.

RELATED: County Supervisors To Review Flu Severity

“It’s possible that that number is higher because the season just started earlier, it’s also possible that this is going to be a higher year for deaths," he explained. "That’s something we’re going to need to continue to monitor.”

Despite the skyrocketing number of cases, health officials told the Board of Supervisors it hasn't yet reached emergency status.

"It is very important to note that the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the state have not declared an emergency, at present, as resources have not been exhausted," said Dr. Nick Yphantides, the county's chief medical officer.

Public health officials say it is not too late to get vaccinated.

"The flu vaccine is the best public health tool we have, and an annual flu shot is recommended to everyone over 6 months," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, director of the county's public health services. "The vaccine helps your body develop protection in two weeks and can lessen severity if one gets the flu. The vaccine is matched with all four circulating strains."

Photo credit: San Diego County

A chart by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency shows flu trends from 2008-2017, Jan. 8, 2018.

Flu vaccines are available at the following locations:

Central Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon., Wed., Thurs., 8:30-11 am and 1-4 pm

5202 University Ave.

San Diego, CA 92105

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning on Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

VIP Immunization Trailer

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8-11 am and 1-4 pm

3177A Ocean View Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92113

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning on Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

East Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. and Thurs., 1-4 p.m.

367 N. Magnolia Ave., Ste. 101

El Cajon, CA 92020

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Wednesday and Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m., also on Thursday, from 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Please call the Center at 619-441-6500 for information about Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.

North Central Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.

NOTE: Clinic closed the second Thurs. of every month from 8-11 a.m.

5055 Ruffin Rd.

San Diego, CA 92123

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m., except the second Thursday of every month, when flu vaccine is only available from 1-4 pm. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Please call the Center at (858) 573-7300 for information about Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.

North Inland Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon. & Fri., 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.

649 W. Mission Ave., Suite 2

Escondido, CA 92025

Flu vaccine for ages 6mos and older is available Mondays & Fridays. Adults may also call for availability Tuesday through Thursday. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines..

Ramona Public Health Office

Ongoing

Second Wed. of every month from 1-3 p.m.

1521 Main St.

Ramona, CA 92065

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Wednesday of every month, from 1-3 p.m.

Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

New Hope Church

Ongoing

Third Wed. of every month from 8:30-11 a.m.

10330 Carmel Mountain Rd.

San Diego, CA 92129

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is now available on a walk-in basis, on the third Wednesday of every month, from 8:30-11 a.m.

Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

North Coastal Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon. & Fri., 8-11:30 a.m.and 1-4 p.m.

3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd., Suite 104

Oceanside, CA 92056

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available beginning Oct. 6 on a walk-in basis, Monday and Friday, from 8-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Fallbrook Community Resources Center

Ongoing

Second Mon. of every month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

202 W. College Ave.

Fallbrook, CA 92028

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Monday of every month, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Solana Beach Presbyterian Church

Ongoing

Second Tues. of every month from 1-4 p.m.

120 Stevens Ave.

Solana Beach, CA 92075

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, on the second Tuesday of every month, from 1-4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

South Region Public Health Center

Ongoing

Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

690 Oxford St., Suite H

Chula Vista, CA 91911

Flu vaccine for 6 months and older is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Note that the clinic may close earlier than the listed time if clinic capacity is reached. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at https://onlineappts.hhsa-sdcounty.org. Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines are also available to eligible persons.

Vaccination is especially important for those who are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu. They include people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and lung disease; pregnant women; those over 65; and people who live with or care for those who are at higher risk, health officials said.

Vaccines are available at doctors' offices and retail pharmacies. Those without insurance can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211.

Flu Death Toll Continues To Rise In San Diego County

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