The H1N1 flu virus has claimed four lives in the Central Valley. The Merced County Health Department is reporting two deaths, Fresno County has had a woman die from the flu and a man from Kings County also passed away.
The valley is not alone. Hospitals across California are seeing more flu patients. As the H1N1 flu spreads more and more, concerns of catching it grow in our community.
Julia Loucks got a vaccination against virus and is feeling happier than ever she did.
"Most insurances cover it free and even pharmacies hold free shot days so i don't see why you wouldn't get a free shot if it's protecting you from something that could potentially kill you," said Julia Loucks.
Mel Sandoval did not get the shot, but is now reconsidering it.
"There's always a scare for it, so you might as well get it done," said Mel Sandoval.
The Fresno County woman in her 40s who died never received an influenza vaccination.
"The person had underlying medical conditions that probably contributed with the influenza and infection probably contributed to the person passing away," said David Luchini, Fresno Co. Health Dept.
Inside the Fresno County Jail, more than 300 inmates have been quarantined due to the flu. It was triggered by a 61-year old man. He arrived in September, but 2 days ago, he reported feeling ill.
"He was treated at that time, however his condition started to worsen and yesterday afternoon he was transported to the hospital where he is currently listed in serious condition," said Deputy Chris Curtice, Fresno Co. Sheriff's Dept.
Three inmates exhibiting flu-like symptoms have been moved to a special housing unit in the jail. They have been tested, but results have not come back to determine if it is H1N1.
As a precaution, no inmates are being ushered into the courthouse unless absolutely necessary. Nobody can visit them inside the jail either. So Brandon Darrow won't be seeing his friend.
"You know just pray to God no one else gets it and they take care of it as soon as possible," said Brandon Darrow, friend of an inmate.
That's exactly what's being done.
"Jail medical staff is monitoring all of the inmates daily, numerous times daily so we can nip this thing in the bud before it gets worse," said Curtice.
It's not too late to get a flu vaccination. In Fresno County they are available at the health department located at Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno. The cost is $6.00, but no one will be turned away if they can't pay.
For more information on local immunization clinics, click on the link above.
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