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COVID, influenza cases on the rise, even before likely Thanksgiving bump

Matthew Bowler
Drive-thru flu shot clinic at Sharp HealthCare Coronado hospital, Nov. 1, 2021.

While signs of any potential Thanksgiving surge of COVID-19 and the flu won't show up until next week's data is released, cases for both illnesses are continuing to trend up in San Diego County, according to the Health and Human Services Agency.

COVID-19 cases will surpass 10,000 for the month of November, exceeding the 7,482 cases recorded in October, according to the agency. Flu cases are also continuing to increase, reaching 2,694 last week, up from 2,375 the previous week. For the season to date, San Diego County has recorded 12,946 cases of the flu compared to 424 at this time last year.

The HHSA encouraged San Diegans to get their flu and COVID vaccines before the peak holiday period. It takes two weeks until the body reaches full immunity from the vaccines.

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"The time to act is now," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. "Get your flu and COVID vaccines as soon as you can and keep yourself and your loved ones safe this holiday season. And remember that masks help reduce spreading both the flu and COVID-19."

COVID-19 and flu vaccines are widely available across the region at pharmacies, medical centers and clinics. The two vaccines can be administered during the same visit, health officials said.

An additional seven deaths and 3,455 COVID-19 cases were reported in the last week, increasing the county's cumulative totals to 5,569 deaths and 942,177 infections.

The 3,455 cases reported in the past week were higher compared to the 3,084 infections identified the previous week. None of the deaths in the past week had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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The number of people in San Diego-area hospitals with COVID-19 decreased by 14 to 284, with patients in intensive care units decreasing by four to 26.

Three additional flu deaths were announced, increasing the county's seasonal total to eight. None of the most recent deaths had received a flu shot, according to the health agency.

Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness increased to 11% of all visits, compared with 10% the previous week.