A half-dozen influenza-related deaths were reported last week in San Diego County, bringing the flu season's total to 308 in the region, health officials announced today.
This has been a particularly severe flu season in the region and across the country. At this time last year, 72 deaths had been reported.
There were 682 lab-confirmed cases in the county last week, up from 602 the week before. That brings this season's total to 19,483, compared to 4,956 at this time last season, according to county data.
``The number of influenza cases being reported is still elevated, a sign that the flu is still here and making people sick,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. ``People should continue getting vaccinated.
''Wooten has extended until April 30 an order for unvaccinated health care professionals to wear a mask while they're in patient care areas. She said she may need to extend the order further if flu activity remains elevated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated.
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.
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