With flu season blowing into California, public health officials on Thursday renewed their call for Los Angeles County residents to get influenza shots and continue to adhere to social distancing protocols that they say will help them stem the spread of both viruses.
Pasadena recorded four new COVID-19 infections on Thursday and no new fatalities, according to city data. Since the onset of the pandemic, a total of 2,664 infections and 129 fatalities have been documented in the city.
Huntington Hospital reported treating 24 COVID-19 patients.
At the county level, 1,233 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 new deaths were announced, raising the county-wide totals to 286,183 infections and 6,834 deaths, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
But as officials continued focusing on containing the COVID-19 virus, they also turned their attention Thursday to influenza.
Both Pasadena and county public health officials have cautioned of the potential danger of co-infection with both viruses, as well as concerns that surges in both at the same time could overwhelm the healthcare system.
But at the same time, L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said the very same tactics used to fight COVID-19 also help keep the flu from spreading.
“The steps we are all taking to prevent transmission of COVID-19 also help prevent transmission of influenza. As we’ve seen from countries in the southern hemisphere who have already had their flu season, these actions have been effective in slowing the spread of both viruses, and many have seen fairly mild flu seasons,” according to Ferrer.
“While we very much hope for the same here in L.A. County and across the United States, we will continue working diligently with our partners to prevent infection and to reduce transmission of the two viruses,” she said. “We all have tools that work to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flu: wearing face coverings and keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet whenever you are out of your home and around others; frequent handwashing and; avoiding large crowds. For flu, we have the additional tool of a safe and effective vaccine. With everyone doing their part, we reduce illness and we save lives.”
County health officials added that since both COVID-19 and the flu can present similar symptoms, testing is the only way to determine which virus might be causing someone to fall ill.
Just over 720 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout the county on Thursday, officials said. Twenty-seven percent of them were being treated in intensive care units.
The California Department of Public Health announced 3,329 new cases of COVID-19 and 118 additional fatalities.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the state had recorded 858,401 infections and 16,757 deaths in total, the CDPH said in a written statement.
The state’s average positivity rate over the prior seven- and 14-day periods were both 2.6%.
As of Thursday, Los Angeles County accounted for 33% of California’s total COVID-19 cases and 41% of the state’s fatalities.