The toll from this year’s flu season continues to grow, with the state reporting Friday that another 52 people under the age of 65 have died.
That brings the season total to 147 confirmed deaths, with the state Department of Public Health investigating another 44. At this time last year, 14 Californians under the age of 65 had died and the toll for the entire flu season was 106. The flu season generally lasts until March.
Yolo County has reported no flu deaths in anyone under the age of 65 but some surrounding counties have been hit hard. Sacramento County has reported 15 deaths, Sonoma County four and Solano County one.
“This influenza season continues to be a severe one as the increasing number of influenza-related deaths indicates,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the state Department of Public Health, said Friday. “Once again, I urge all Californians to get vaccinated, because it is the best defense against influenza.”
The Yolo County Health Department will hold another free flu vaccine clinic on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at West Sacramento City Hall, 1110 W. Capitol Ave.
A similar clinic held in Woodland last week drew more than 400 people.
The predominate flu virus circulating this year is H1N1 — known as “swine flu” when it emerged back in 2009. Then, as now, the virus disproportionately affected younger adults, children, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women.
This year’s flu vaccine protects against H1N1 and is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months. The free flu vaccine clinic will offer both flu shots as well as flu mist.
Doctor’s offices and pharmacies also offer the vaccination.
In addition to the free clinic on Wednesday, the county Health Department also holds a flu vaccine clinic every Monday from 2 to 5 p.m. where vaccinations cost $10 each but no one is turned away for inability to pay.
The clinics take place on the first Monday of the month at 500B Jefferson Blvd. in West Sacramento and on the second, third and fourth Mondays at 137 N. Cottonwood St. in Woodland. For more information, call 530-666-8645.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy