Kern County health department: 7 dead of flu-like illnesses

Kern County health department: 7 dead of flu-like illnesses »Play Video
AP file

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The number of Kern County residents dying of "influenza like illnesses" keeps rising.

The Kern County Public Health Department said Monday afternoon that seven people have now died of flu-like illnesses. Department spokeswoman Kim Rodriguez said not all reported flu-like illnesses have yet been tested and confirmed as flu cases.

The county health department also reported 49 total flu-like hospitalizations.

The sixth suspected flu-related death of the season was reported over the weekend. The first two suspected flu deaths were reported Jan. 7 by the health department.

The health department stressed that people can still find protection from a flu vaccination. The department also reminded people to cover their coughs, wash their hands and stay home if they are sick.

Flu shots are available at most local pharmacies on a walk-in basis. They are also offered for $9 at the health department, 1800 Mt. Vernon Ave. The clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Finally, the health department has asked people to seek care if they have the following flu conditions:

  • fever higher than 100 degrees and a cough and/or sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • contacts with a confirmed flu case
  • in a high-risk setting for transmission (e.g. school, prison, camp, or other residential institution)
  • part of a cluster with flu-like illness or symptoms