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State’s first flu death confirmed in southern Utah

By Ashley Imlay, KSL | Posted - Jan. 7, 2020 at 1:47 p.m.

ST. GEORGE — Utah’s first death caused by the flu was confirmed Tuesday, according to health officials.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department said the death occurred recently in one of the five counties in its district, which includes Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties.

The person who died was under age 65 and had type A influenza — one of the two most common strains, local health officials said. Additional information about the death was not released due to patient protection law.

”We have had 36 people hospitalized from the flu this season,” Kassidy Peterson, health department epidemiologist, said in a statement.

“Their ages range from infants to the elderly. It’s not too late to get vaccinated and we urge everyone to do so, especially those whose age or health condition makes them more vulnerable,” she said.

Utah’s flu activity this season is currently considered moderate by the state health department, with 172 hospitalizations as of last update. Though the state hasn’t been hit as hard of others, health officials say the virus is widespread and encourage people who haven’t yet to get immunized.

Other states have recently experienced spikes in flu deaths. Washington state has seen 19 flu deaths so far this season, the Associated Press reported. The virus prompted school closures in that state in December. Eleven people have died from the flu in Wisconsin, and eight have died in Minnesota, the AP reported.

Ashley Imlay

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