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Flu cases on the decline across San Diego County

A San Diego health care worker prepares a flu vaccine in this undated photo.
Kris Arciaga
/
KPBS
A San Diego health care worker prepares a flu vaccine in this undated photo.

Flu cases are declining in San Diego County, according to health officials, who said Wednesday that the county will no longer publicize weekly articles detailing the region's influenza status due to the continuing drop in cases.

One final report totaling case numbers for the 2021-22 flu season will be released later this summer, according to a statement issued Wednesday by county health officials.

Despite the decline, this flu season was far more active than the previous one, officials said.

There have been 3,999 influenza cases and seven deaths so far this season, while there were 848 cases and two deaths at the same time last year.

"We saw a lot more flu cases this season when compared to last, as well as a late-season surge in influenza activity," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "While cases are trending down at this time, seasonal influenza vaccinations are still available and encouraged, especially for those at higher risk of adverse outcomes."

The county reported Wednesday that there were 147 new lab-confirmed cases over the past week, with 5% of all emergency department visits stemming from people with influenza-like illness.

According to the county, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

The CDC also says that a person can get a flu and COVID-19 vaccination at the same time. The coronavirus vaccine does not work against influenza and vice versa, county officials said.

According to the county, the flu vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk of having serious complications from the virus, including those with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease; pregnant women; those 65 years and older; or people living with or caring for others at higher risk.

The flu vaccine is available at private doctors' offices and retail pharmacies and is covered by medical insurance. Those with no health care coverage may get the vaccine at one of the county's six public health centers or a local community clinic.

Information is available by calling 211 San Diego or visiting the county's website.

The county also recommends that residents:

  • wash hands thoroughly and often or use hand sanitizers;
  • avoid sick people, or touching their eyes, nose and mouth;
  • clean commonly touched surfaces; and
  • stay home and avoid contact with others if they are sick.