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Flu Joins COVID in LA County This Season

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By Jorge Casuso

March 17, 2023 -- There have been an estimated 540 flu-related deaths in Los Angeles County since October, with California experiencing the greatest number of per capita cases in the nation, according to the latest local and national health data.

While 69 County residents "are known to have died from flu-related illness" this season, County Health officials say it is likely an undercount "since testing and reporting for flu are less robust than they are for COVID-19."

"The true number of flu-associated deaths since October is likely closer to 540" based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) modeling data, officials said.

Outside of California, only New Jersey and Washington D.C. are in the moderate range for flu cases, while the rest of the U.S. is in the low and minimal ranges.

The CDC estimates that so far this flu season, there have been at least 26 million illnesses, 290,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths from the flu.

Despite an increase in flu-related deaths, the number is less than one-third the 1,891 LA County residents who died from COVID-related illness between October 1, 2022 and March 1, 2023, County Health officials said.

Coronary heart disease has remained the leading cause of death in LA County since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, followed by COVID.

Those with underlying health conditions including "obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, pregnancy or recent pregnancy" have a higher risk of hospitalization and death from from the virus, Health officials said.

For the ninth consecutive week, LA County remains in the CDC’s Low COVID-19 Community Level, with the 7-day average case count dropping from an average of 832 last week to 726 this week.

The average reported number of daily deaths among those with the virus also dropped -- from 11.9 last week to 10.6 this week, while hospital admissions dropped from 88 to 76.

As of Friday, there were 466 people with COVID-19 occupying the approximately 19,500 beds in the County's 70 designated 9-1-1 receiving hospitals.

Since the first coronavirus cases were reported in LA County three years ago, there have been 3,719,362 confirmed cases in the County of more than 10 million and 35,890 virus-related deaths.

In Santa Monica, there were 45 confirmed cases last week, bringing the total number to 26,208. There have been 297 virus related deaths in the city of some 93,000, with two reported last week.

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