Season’s First Flu Death Reported, Also Had COVID-19

Flu vaccine syringe
Flu vaccine syringe

A 65-year-old man from East County is the first influenza death reported in San Diego County this season, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

The man, who was also diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, died Jan. 13, had underlying medical conditions and had been vaccinated against influenza.

“Influenza deaths are very unfortunate, but they do occur every flu season,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “While influenza activity has been very low this season, San Diegans should get vaccinated against the flu to prevent getting influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.”

Through Jan. 30, 2021, there have been 39 people diagnosed with influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.

To date, 677 influenza cases have been reported in the region, compared to 11,863 cases that had been registered at the same time last year. A total of 108 people died from influenza last season.

Your Best Shot Against the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:

  • Stay away from sick people
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean commonly touched surfaces
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit the County’s influenza Website or call 211 San Diego.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact