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Health, Science and Technology

Influenza cases spiking on Central Coast

Greta Mart

Hospitals around the Central Coast are seeing a huge influx of patients suffering from flu symptoms

“Flu is here. It's a little bit earlier this year than usual. There are multiple cases in doctors offices, hospitals, [and] urgent cares...that sort of thing,” said Christine Gaiger, Communicable Disease Program Manager with San Luis Obispo County’s Public Health Department.

Health care providers say they are trying to educate patients on when there's actually a need to head to the hospital.

“The best thing is to stay away from sick people; if you're sick, stay home. No need to go to the hospital unless you're having difficulty breathing or other complications,” Gaiger said.

Monterey County reported one person under the age of 65 died in late December from an influenza virus infection. None have been reported in San Luis Obispo County, said Gaiger.

In Santa Barbara County, there were five outbreaks in residential healthcare facilities in the past two weeks, according to the county’s public health department.

“It appears the predominant strain this year is H3N2, which tends to cause more severe illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths,” said Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s Susan Klein-Rothschild.