(Placerville, CA) - The Public Health Division of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency has received a report of a death of an El Dorado County resident caused by seasonal influenza. The death occurred in November 2022. "This flu-related fatality is a painful reminder that COVID-19 is not the only illness threatening the most vulnerable among us," said El Dorado County Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. "Besides COVID-19, cases of other respiratory illnesses are occurring in much greater numbers this fall than we've seen in several years. Continued vigilance to prevent the spread of infectious illnesses in our communities remains important for everyone."
According to Dr. Williams, this most recent flu-related fatality is the first to occur among an El Dorado County resident in nearly three years. The last flu-related death of an El Dorado County resident was reported in February 2020.
"Precautions taken during the pandemic to prevent transmission of COVID, like masking and staying away from other people when ill, worked well at reducing the incidence of respiratory illnesses, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the common cold," said Dr. Williams. "Unfortunately, relaxing our precautions has resulted in those illnesses spreading more freely again. We are hearing reports of many people missing school and work this fall."
El Dorado County's Immunization Coordinator, Carole Hodge-Little, added, "We recommend that everyone be vaccinated against the flu annually. If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet this fall, now is a great time to do that, along with keeping up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations."
El Dorado County Public Health Division nurses are offering free walk-in Flu/COVID vaccination clinics in various communities throughout El Dorado County and on set days at its Public Health offices in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. The flu and COVID vaccines are available at the walk-in clinics, which are open to the public. December vaccination clinic calendars can be found online: https://www.edcgov.us/government/publichealth/immunizations/pages/flu_clinics.aspx
Public Health also offers Flu and COVID vaccinations by appointment at their Public Health offices. For more information about El Dorado County Public Health vaccinations, call (530) 621-6100 in Placerville or (530) 573-3155 in South Lake Tahoe. To find other sources for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination clinics, visit: https://myturn.ca.gov/clinic.html and https://www.vaccines.gov/.
Dr. Williams stated that people at risk for complications from the flu, and their close contacts, are especially encouraged to be vaccinated. Risk factors for complications include being under age 5 or over age 65, being pregnant, having chronic health conditions (like asthma and other lung diseases, diabetes, neurological disorders, and heart disease), or being morbidly obese. Healthcare workers and people who live or work with at-risk persons should also be immunized. Individuals must be at least 6 months of age to receive the influenza vaccine. Primary-series COVID-19 vaccine is available for ages 6 months and older. Booster doses are available starting at the age of 5 years.
"In addition to being vaccinated, everyone can prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses by keeping hands washed, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when sick, and covering your coughs," emphasized Dr. Williams. Testing and treatment for COVID-19 are both available at the LHI OptumServe test sites in Placerville and South Lake Tahoe (by appointment or drop-in). More information can be found online: https://covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com/.
The Public Health Division is an El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) unit. For more information about the many programs and services of HHSA, please visit our website: http://www.edcgov.us/hhsa.
# # #