County of Marin - News Releases - Flu Surge

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2018

Flu Surges in Marin County Emergency Departments

Residents can protect emergency resources by getting their flu vaccine

San Rafael, CA – Flu season has come earlier than usual this year, with 176 positive influenza tests in Marin County hospitals from October 2017 through December 2017 compared with 128 during the same period last year, according to the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

A nurse looks at needle as she prepares to give a flu shot.It is not too late to get a flu shot.
Through December 2017, the flu has already been linked to more statewide deaths than last year. California has seen 27 flu deaths in those under age 65 compared with three deaths last year. Marin County has reported its first death associated with influenza virus infection in an individual under 65.  It is not known if the deceased had been vaccinated. 

“The influenza vaccination is the best way to protect your family from complications of influenza,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Health Officer. “It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Even if the vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu, it will make it less likely for you to become seriously ill or require hospitalization.” 

Symptoms of the flu include fever that last three or four days, severe muscle or body aches, chills, severe chest discomfort and cough, headaches and fatigue. Along with Marin County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency, Marin Public Health recommends that residents who are not seriously ill stay home, drink fluids, and take medicine for fever. People should monitor their own symptoms and contact their medical provider if symptoms are getting worse. 

“For children and adults with the flu, the best thing they can do is stay home and rest,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Deputy Public Health Officer. “If they are worried about their condition, they should call their medical provider. Going to the hospital strains emergency resources and decreases our ability to provide prompt, emergent care for those most in need.”

The flu strain A(H3N2) that is circulating in Marin is known to cause more hospitalizations and deaths. People at higher risk for complications should contact their medical providers if they develop flu symptoms. This includes those with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, children under age 2 and those 65 and over.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that all patients with suspected or confirmed influenza who are hospitalized, severely ill, or, at higher risk for complications should treated with flu antiviral medication. 

Health officials recommend that people take the following additional steps to protect themselves and loved ones from the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, since hands may become contaminated with live influenza virus.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after you sneeze or cough.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. Going to work or school while ill may pass the disease onto someone who is at risk for serious complications.

For more information about influenza visit or the CDPH influenza web page. To find a flu vaccine at a location near you, visit or the Vaccine Finder.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website