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Northeast Tri County Health District (NETCHD) received notification of the first flu-related death for the 2021-2022 flu season in a Stevens County resident. The adult tested positive for influenza A and negative for COVID-19. Sadly, the individual passed due to complications from influenza during the first week of January. This is the first reported flu death in Washington State. To protect the privacy of the family and individual, no further details will be released.
In the 2020-2021 flu season influenza cases and deaths were historically low with no cases reported in Ferry, Pend Oreille, or Stevens Counties. Since October 2021, NETCHD is seeing more influenza and other viral illness activity, like RSV, in comparison to the prior flu season.
Influenza Surveillance Data can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get their flu vaccine annually. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection with the flu. Vaccination can also make illness more mild for those who do get the flu, making it especially important for those at higher risk of more serious outcomes, such as those over 65 years old, children under 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. If you think you have the flu, contact your doctor right away to see if a prescription antiviral is the right treatment for you.
Individuals who feel ill should call ahead before going to a doctor’s office, or urgent care to avoid exposing others. COVID-19 and flu symptoms are similar, so consult with a doctor about getting tested for flu and/or COVID-19. Flu symptoms include:
Flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring with activity usually peaking in January or February. The following precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of flu, COVID-19 and other viruses: