SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The number of San Diegans who tested positive for influenza rose 34% from the previous week, but the cumulative case numbers are still below the five-year average, the San Diego County’s Health and Welfare Agency reported Wednesday .
In the week that ended Saturday, a total of 191 laboratory-confirmed flu cases were reported in the region, compared to the previous week when 143 influenza infections were identified.
“More flu cases are expected this time of year as more people come together and congregate indoors,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, district health officer. “Protect yourself and your loved ones. Get vaccinated now.”
The county’s seasonal total is 862 cases, while the five-year average for that time of year is 961. Last year, the number of flu cases at this point in time was only 44.
Every Wednesday during the flu season, the Agency for Health and Human Services publishes the weekly Influenza Watch report, which tracks key flu indicators and summarizes influenza surveillance in the area.
For the week ending Saturday, the agency reported that emergency rooms for flu-like illnesses accounted for 4% of all visits, like the previous week, while the total number of influenza deaths was zero, like last season at that time.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all people 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every year. People with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, people age 65 and over, and people who live or care with others who are at higher risk are more likely to get the flu.
After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for protection against the virus to develop.
The vaccine is available in medical practices and pharmacies and is covered by health insurance. People without health insurance can get vaccinated at one of the county’s six public health centers or at a local community clinic.
To find the closest location, visit the county’s Influenza Vaccine Locations page at sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/immunization_branch/Vaccine_Pr eventable_Diseases / Seasonal_Influenza / Flu_Vaccine_Locations.html or call 211.
Health officials said that in addition to getting vaccinated, people should do the following:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often;
- use hand sanitizer;
- avoid sick people;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Clean frequently touched surfaces; and
- If you fall ill, stay at home and avoid contact with others.
848 cases of influenza were reported in San Diego County last season, including two deaths. In 2019, a total of 108 San Diegan residents died of influenza and more than 20,700 cases of flu were reported.