The flu-related death toll rose to 20 in the Bay Area on Wednesday as Napa County reported its first fatal swine flu case and Contra Costa County reported its second.
Because the state requires reporting of influenza deaths only in people younger than 65, the number of flu-related deaths could actually be higher than what has been reported among nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County, officials said. That age requirement began after the swine flu pandemic of 2009-10, when 203,000 people died worldwide, including more than 600 Californians.
Napa County health officials reported their first fatal H1N1 case as an 84-year-old man with multiple medical issues, becoming the first Bay Area county to report the flu death of a victim over the age of 65. And health officials in Contra Costa County said that while their second victim, a 48-year-old man, died back in December, it was confirmed Wednesday that he died from swine flu.
The nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County have reported 20 flu-related deaths combined. Santa Clara County reported four fatal flu cases, Alameda and San Mateo counties reported three, Marin and Sonoma counties reported two, and San Francisco, Solano and Santa Cruz counties have each reported one death.
Shortages of vaccinations have been reported on a store-by-store basis at various Bay Area pharmacies, and a corporate spokesman for both CVS and Walgreens encouraged people to call in advance to check on availability since some stores had run out of the vaccine. A temporary shortage of adult flu vaccines was also reported at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Oakland late last week, though the health provider received 20,000 additional doses from suppliers Monday and expected to receive more than 40,000 additional doses this week.
In all, the nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County have reported 20 flu-related deaths this season as of Jan. 15, 2014:
Alameda County: 3
Contra Costa County: 2
Marin County: 2
Napa County: 1
San Francisco County: 1
San Mateo County: 3
Santa Clara County: 4
* Santa Cruz County: 1
Solano County: 1
Sonoma County: 2
* Santa Cruz County isn't included in the official designation of nine Bay Area counties.