The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced new flu numbers on Wednesday, showing a dramatic uptick in flu cases.
Eleven people have died in San Diego County due to flu-related deaths this season and more than 1,600 flu cases were reported in the week, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.
Compared to this time last year, flu cases have more than doubled with 5,434 flu patients to-date.
Hospitals across the county are seeing the impacts of more flu cases this year.
During the first week of the new year, nearly 10-percent of patient visits in San Diego County hospital emergency rooms were from flu patients.
Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center said they are using their new Ocean View Tower to host flu patients.
"We’re currently experiencing a high patient census due to the flu. Typically, when we experience an influx of flu patients, we utilize triage tents. Now that our Ocean View Tower is complete and licensed, we made the decision to open certain areas of the tower early, such as the pharmacy and kitchen, to support the hospital during flu season. We’re meeting regularly to assess the need to open additional areas early if needed. Our current plan is to officially move patients in on Tuesday, Jan. 14,” said Pablo Velez, PhD, RN, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, CEO.
Rady Children’s Hospital is also seeing the effects of new flu cases popping up – the hospital seeing both influenza A and B cases.
“We’re definitely seeing more than the average number of flu cases this year so if you feel your child is sick and could be evaluated in an urgent care that’s a better option,” said Dr. Seema Shah of Rady Children’s Hospital. “Reserve coming to the ER if your child is very sick appearing or dehydrated.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year especially pregnant women, those with chronic medical conditions and people aged 65 years and older.