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San Diego County Officials Confirm Third Flu Death of Season

A San Diego County microbiologist holds a test tube containing a nasal swap f...

Photo by Tarryn Mento

Above: A San Diego County microbiologist holds a test tube containing a nasal swap frozen in a liquid solution for influenza testing at the San Diego County Public Health Laboratory, Sept. 26, 2019.

County health officials announced Wednesday they received reports of the county's third person to die of flu-related causes since the 2019-20 flu season began.

The 80-year-old north county man died Nov. 1, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. He had received this season's flu vaccine prior to his death and had additional medical conditions. Health officials received reports of this flu season's first death in August.

The county also confirmed 58 flu cases last week, nearly double the 30 confirmed cases from the previous week. County health officials have already confirmed 420 flu cases this season, which corresponds with the county's fiscal year from July 1 to June 30. At this time last flu season, officials had confirmed only 157 cases.

"The higher number of cases is an indication that influenza activity is increasing in the region," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now. The vaccine is here and readily available."

County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications like pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions like lung disease and people age 65 or older.

Residents can take precautions against contracting the virus by frequently washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding contact with sick people. Residents can also get the flu vaccine at local doctors' offices, retail pharmacies and the county's public health centers.

A full list of locations offering flu shots can be found at the county's immunization website, sdiz.org, or by calling 211 for the county's health hotline.

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