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Posted on: November 21, 2023

First flu death of the season reported in Snohomish County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2023

CONTACT: 
SHD-communications@co.snohomish.wa.us 

First flu death of the season reported in Snohomish County

As holiday gatherings approach, people should take steps to reduce the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses. 

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The county’s first flu-related death of the 2023-24 flu season was reported last week. An Everett woman in her 60s with underlying medical conditions died November 13.

While most people recover from flu with care and rest, flu can be a serious illness and cause deadly complications. Last flu season, 12 Snohomish County residents died, ranging in age from their 20s to over 80 years old. Flu deaths had dropped off during the preceding two flu seasons while enhanced COVID prevention measures were in place. However, the county saw 11 flu-related deaths during the 2019-20 season, 26 in 2018-19, and 40 in 2017-18. The worst flu season for the county in recent memory was 2016-17, with 45 flu-related deaths.  

Statewide, the most recent flu season (2022-23) was the deadliest in the last five years. The Washington State Department of Health reports that 269 people died from flu in Washington last season, including 264 adults and five children.

People at higher risk of severe illness include young children, older adults, people with chronic conditions or who are immunocompromised, pregnant individuals, and residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities. 

So far, indicators of flu transmission overall remain low in Snohomish County and statewide. COVID activity also remains low, but there has been a recent uptick in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity. It is likely that transmission of these viruses will increase in the coming weeks as we approach more holiday gatherings.

Everyone can play a role in reducing the spread of illness this season. You can help by:

  • Getting your annual flu vaccine if you have not done so already. It is available at clinics and pharmacies throughout the county. This is also a good time to make sure you are up-to-date on other vaccinations, particularly COVID vaccinations for ages 6 months or older and RSV immunizations for those who are eligible.   
  • Staying home and away from others if you have symptoms of illness. These include cough, fever, body or headaches, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, or a sore throat.
  • Choosing to wear a mask over your nose and mouth in indoor public spaces when flu or other respiratory viruses are circulating at high rates. You can monitor the current status of flu, COVID and RSV on the Health Department’s Respiratory Illness Dashboard
  • Covering coughs and sneezes 
  • Washing hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, and using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

Find more information and updated flu reports throughout the flu season at www.snohd.org/flu. For statewide data and more flu information from the Washington State Department of Health, visit www.flufreewa.org or the DOH Respiratory Illness Data Dashboard

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