Pharmacist Nisha Mathew prepares a Pfizer COVID booster shot for a patient at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Pharmacist Nisha Mathew prepares a Pfizer COVID booster shot for a patient at Bartell Drugs on Broadway on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

First flu-related death of the season reported in Snohomish County

The county expects more flu, COVID and RSV cases over the holidays.

EVERETT — An Everett woman died in the first confirmed flu-related death of the season, county officials reported Tuesday.

The woman, in her 60s, had underlying medical conditions when she contracted the flu and died Nov. 13, according to the county health department. The flu can cause serious illness for children, seniors, those with chronic conditions and residents of long-term care facilities.

Last flu season, a dozen Snohomish County residents died, with the youngest patient in their 20s. The worst flu season for the county in the past 10 years was late 2016 to early 2017, with 45 deaths.

Flu-related deaths decreased due to COVID precautions, but have since increased. The most recent flu season was the deadliest for Washington state in five years, with 269 deaths, including 264 adults and five children, according to the state Department of Health.

Emergency indicators for severe respiratory illness include:

• Trouble breathing or fast breathing;

• Bluish or gray face;

• Fever longer than 72 hours, temperature above 104 degrees, or fever in infants;

• Cough with pink or bloody mucus;

• Inability to drink or keep liquids down;

• Dizziness or confusion; and

• Chest pain.

This week, about 30 people were in hospital beds across the state for COVID and flu-related illness. For the week ending Nov. 11, the health department reported 10 people hospitalized for the flu in Snohomish County.

Flu and COVID transmission remain low in the county, but there has been a recent uptick in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) transmission, according to the county health department.

Transmission will likely increase over the holidays, the county says. Prevention measures include vaccination, masks, covering coughs and sneezes as well as staying home if symptoms arise.

The new flu and COVID vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older. They’re available at most doctor’s offices, pharmacies and clinics. It’s safe to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID at the same time. Seniors and those who are pregnant can consult their doctor about vaccination against RSV.

Tools to find the nearest vaccine provider include the state’s vaccine locator and the federal vaccine search by zip code. Texting a zip code to GETVAX (438829) will prompt a reply of vaccination sites nearby. Personal vaccination records can be found online.

Statewide data and reports on flu, COVID and RSV are available on the health department’s Respiratory Illness Dashboard. The county health department publishes weekly reports on flu cases and biweekly reports on COVID cases.

Links to find a vaccine provider

Washington’s vaccine locator

Federal vaccine search by zip code

For those with poor insurance or no insurance:

The federal Bridge Access Program

Vaccines for Children

Sydney Jackson: 425-339-3430; sydney.jackson@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @_sydneyajackson.

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