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Flu Blamed For More Than 40 Deaths In Ventura, Santa Barbara Counties


Maybe you’ve had the flu. Maybe it’s hit someone in your family.

The outbreak is one of the worst in decades in Ventura and Santa Barbara County, with the death toll topping 40 people.

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says as of Thursday, the county has had 33 confirmed deaths. He says it’s worst he’s seen in his nearly two decades with the county. In Santa Barbara County, the influenza death toll is also growing. Dr. Charity Dean, Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Officer, says the county has eight confirmed deaths. But, she believes the total will actually be much higher.

Dr. Dean says the region’s ER’s are swamped by flu cases. She stresses that if you think you have the flu, or do have it, you shouldn't contact your primary health care provider unless it’s a life threatening situation. And, Dr. Levin says if you didn’t get a flu shot yet, you still need to do it. Dr. Levin says we still have several weeks left in what is considered to be the traditional flu season, another reason to get a shot if you haven’t done it yet.

And above all, health care officials say if you think you have the flu, there’s one thing you have to do out of consideration for others. They say you should stay home.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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