So far this flu season the influenza virus has claimed three lives in San Joaquin County.
And while the nation’s attention is on the arrival of the coronavirus and the health impacts associated with the deadly disease, the number of people killed by the flu countrywide has more than doubled in the last month – rising from 70 through Jan. 4 to a total of 149 in just two weeks.
San Joaquin County is expected to release updated information about the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths linked to the flu later this week.
And when compared to last flu season, San Joaquin County has seen a 25 percent spike in the number of cases diagnosed from Week 40 of 2019 through the first week of this year.
For the second year in a row there were no confirmed cases of the flu in anybody under the age of 18 through Jan. 4, and there were 2 less cases of influenza in people between the ages of 16 and 64. Unfortunately there were two cases confirmed in the most vulnerable population, adults over the age of 65, this season, and there were two confirmed respiratory outbreak cases.
And unlike in recent years, after a minor decline in the number of cases in the United States in early December the number has climbed steadily and appears to be rising even sharper as flu season advances.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 21 million Americans have come down with the flu this year, with as many as 10 million flu medical visits and 250,000 hospitalizations. While the numbers are estimates and will not be confirmed fully until after the season has ended, the CDC believes that as many as 20,000 people may have died from the flu so far this season – putting the 2019/20 flu season on track to be one of the worst in decades.
The San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services recommends that people get vaccinated against the flu and take steps as routine handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding contact with sick people, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while the flu season is in full swing. Health experts also encourage people to talk with their health care professionals about taking antiviral medications if they are sick and to stay home from work or school when ill to prevent illness from spreading.
For additional information, or to view San Joaquin County’s updated numbers, visit the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services website at www.sjcphs.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.