The California Department of Public Health reports that 10 more people under the age of 65 have died of the flu as of March 15, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths this season to 342.
That’s more than six times as many flu deaths as had been reported by this time last year. This year’s predominance of the powerful H1N1 strain of virus has made for an especially severe flu season, but public health officials say it does appear to be tapering off.
The number of new flu deaths has been steadily declining each of the last several weeks.
In addition to the 342 confirmed flu-related deaths, officials are investigating an additional 15 they suspect may have been flu-related.
Locally, 64 of the deaths have been reported in Los Angeles County, including Long Beach. Orange County reported 15; there have been 25 in San Bernardino County, and 17 in Riverside County.
Health officials say it’s never too late to get the flu vaccine, and encourage everyone older than 6 months to do so.