State public health officials released another grim statistic on Friday, bumping the number of flu deaths in Californians up to 332.
That’s 14 more than tallied last week, and Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the state department of public health, said his crew is looking at another 19 deaths reported by counties. If confirmed, next week’s death toll from seasonal influenza will grow to 351 statewide.
Last year at this time, there were 47 flu fatalities reported. The entire flu season in 2012-2013 claimed less than one-third of those who’ve already died this year.
The numbers do not include people 65 and older, a demographic group epidemiologists exclude because they are trying to predict and prepare for the flu’s course through the general population.
If you think your doctor’s penmanship is atrocious, it probably is. There’s a reason for that: So her signature cannot easily be copied.
If you think reading your medical record will be easier than recognizing your doctor’s signature, think again.
Medical schools teach a method of note-taking that, for better or worse, looks like a secret code for medical professionals. It’s a tough one to crack if you want to read your medical records.
The acronym SOAP explains the structure of medical records. It stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan.
Daniel Arroyo, 9 of Elk Grove reacts to getting her flu vaccine by RN Six Recio as her mother Vicky Arroyo waits for her turn during a Kaiser Permanente community flu vaccine in Sacramento in February. Even as the flu season winds down, officials say deaths from the virus mount in the state.
As the flu season winds down, the number of statewide deaths due to severe influenza continues to rise – to 318 people under the age of 65 – as California public health officials investigate additional cases still trickling in from counties.
By Friday, California had seen three times the number of deaths reported in all of last year’s flu season, which took the lives of 106 people.
Another 26 deaths are under investigation and likely will increase the 2013-14 flu fatality toll, state officials said. Six children in all have perished because of the flu so far.
The H1N1 virus circulating this season has been especially virulent, causing sudden and severe illness in many individuals who have gone straight to intensive care units once they’ve been admitted to hospitals.
The nationwide statistics are brutal: By fourth grade, 86 percent of African American boys and 82 percent of Latino boys are reading below proficiency levels. (That compares to 54 percent of white fourth-graders.)
And African American and Latino young men are more than six times as likely to be victims of murder than their white peers. The two groups make up almost half of the country’s murder victims each year.
Needless to say, public health experts see a crisis here. So, too, does President Obama, who last week announced a new initiative to work with leading foundations and businesses to turn these statistics around.
“My Brother’s Keeper” is designed to help break down barriers to improve the lives and overall health of boys and young men of color. It’s still in the developmental stage, and will depend on philanthropic funding and the input of many community leaders nationwide.
Four out of every five stores in Sacramento County sell candy-flavored cigarillos for less than $1, about the price of a pack of gum, according to a study released Wednesday.
The practice is under fire for enticing young adults and teens to try new nicotine products, with the aim of getting them hooked on tobacco or other habits, such as e-cigarettes.
The findings were part of new data released by health advocates from Eureka to Escondido. Throughout California, nearly 700 public health workers and volunteers scoured the state’s more than 7,300 retail outlets, including grocery, convenience, big-box and other stores, for information on the availability of tobacco, unhealthy and healthy food products in each of the 58 counties.
In Sacramento County, the survey results showed that 85 percent of stores sell cigarette-like products in candy, mint and liquor flavors.
José Luis Villegas/ email@example.com
The family of Leon Burns – his wife, Tanisha, left, children Mango, Shaheem, Keonna, Leonna, Leon Jr. and Savannah – sing happy birthday as they celebrate the 39th birthday of Leon Burns with a cake with the words “Rest in Paradise Kida” (Akida was Leon Burns’ nickname), on Thursday, February 27, 2014. The family is picking up the pieces after losing him to the H1N1 virus on January 31, 2014. The Burnses live in the community of Florin, one of the Sacramento County ZIP code areas hardest hit by severe influenza cases this season.
José Luis Villegas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The family of Leon Burns, wife Tanisha (bottom left with pink shirt) and children Mango, Jaquan, Shaheem, Keonna, Leonna, Leon Jr. and Savannah. The family is picking up the pieces after losing Leon Burns to the H1N1 virus on January 31, 2014. The Burnses live in one of the ZIP code areas hardest hit by severe influenza cases this season.
As the influenza virus marched across Sacramento County this flu season, a clear pattern emerged showing where the suffering has been most intense.
Many of the deaths and hospitalizations in intensive care units have occurred in low-income, densely packed neighborhoods, where people are more likely to rely on public transit and to have less access to health insurance than the region-wide average.
High unemployment and high concentrations of working-age adults who have given up looking for jobs are more common in the neighborhoods hardest hit. In these areas, generations of families, many of whom are foreign-born, tend to share housing or crowd into small homes, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of ZIP codes and U.S. census demographics.
The key commonality? Entrenched poverty.
For nearly 20 years, Kaiser Permanente doctors and staff have offered free eye screenings and, for those who are eligible, no-cost cataract surgeries. And you don’t have to be insured by Kaiser to get access to these important vision services.
The surgeries are part of Mission Cataract USA, an annual program in which participating doctors help restore the sight for hundreds of people nationwide who cannot afford to get their cataracts treated.
Screening appointments can be made through April 3 or until the slots fill up, whichever comes first. To sign up for the screening, or to request more information, call 916-973-7159.
The screenings will be held on Sat., April 12 at the Kaiser Permanente Point West Medical Offices at 1650 Response Road in Sacramento near Cal Expo. Starting in early May, Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff will perform as many as 20 free cataract surgeries to clear away cloudiness that can cause blurred vision or double vision and sensitivity to light and glare. The main cause of cataracts is advanced age.
Flu deaths in California continue to climb, with state officials Friday warning the public that the influenza season likely will last until April.
Measles cases, too, are on the upswing – mainly because of people returning from travel overseas, especially from the Philippines, where a typhoon last fall displaced families and triggered an outbreak of illness.
In a weekly briefing, state Department of Public Health officers said they’ve tracked 278 flu cases in which residents under the age of 65 have died. That’s an increase of 35 over last week’s report. Another 29 deaths are being investigated and are likely to be confirmed, meaning that next week, California will probably see the flu fatality count exceed 300 people.
At this time last year, the state had logged 32 cases of the flu that led to death. The entire flu season last year took 106 lives statewide.
Hector Amezcuaemail@example.com Lesley Bunning
is a Granite Bay mother of three who is on life support for symptoms from H1N1 flu at Kaiser hospital in Roseville. Her family said they decided to show the current photograph of Lesley, left, because they want people to see the consequences of not getting a flu shot.
Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times/ MCT
Officials continue to call for California residents to be vaccinated against the flu virus, but numbers of people being hit by the flu - as well as deaths - continue to rise.
At 2:58 on Wednesday afternoon, Bernard Bunning’s cellphone buzzed. He’d vowed to ignore calls while standing vigil over his wife’s hospital bed at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville. But something made him answer this one.
On the phone was a woman he’d never heard of before, saying, “We know your wife, Lesley, is in trouble, and God sent us to her to pray for a miracle,” Bunning recalled. With the push of social media, Lesley Bunning’s fight for survival over bodily damage caused by the H1N1 influenza virus had apparently gone viral.
By Thursday night, strangers had joined friends and family gathered under the window of Lesley Bunning’s room in the intensive-care unit to form a large circle, all holding hands, uttering healing prayers. One young woman unknown to Bernard Bunning got down on her knees, he said.
Then, Bunning was contacted out of the blue by a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. Next, the family heard from people in Italy, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, the Philippines. Mormon elders came by the hospital to bestow a special status on Lesley Bunning. Jehovah’s Witnesses sent their prayers. Catholics, too.
Parents with toddlers in strollers are invited to join a new walking club led by a Kaiser Permanente doctor at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville on Friday.
The club is free and will meet every Friday for a one-mile stroller walk. Health and fitness presentations begin at 9 a.m. At 9:30, the walk with a Kaiser Permanente physician begins.
Raffle prizes and pediatric informational booths are included in the activities, which are open to Kaiser members and nonmembers alike. The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon, at the indoor children’s play area, 1st floor, near Sears. For more information, go to kpwalktothrive.org.
Renée C. Byer/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Geneva Hill, , readies the flu shot for Zhuo Fen Huang of Sacramento at the Capitol. Anthem Blue Cross contracted Maxim Healthcare to administer free flu shots to 200 people at the Capitol in Sacramento.
With two more people dead of the potent H1N1 strain of the flu in Sacramento County, county officials are setting up another free flu shot clinic on Thursday, this time in Citrus Heights.
The total number of local residents under 65 who died of influenza this season is now at 26, said Laura McCasland, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, the number of people hospitalized in local intensive care units with influenza-like symptoms has risen to 110, McCasland said.
Sacramento County’s death toll from the flu far exceeds the number of dead that were confirmed throughout all of California this time last year. That annual toll, from the 2012-2013 flu season, equaled 18 people. Throughout California, there are more than 202 deceased from the intense 2013-2014 flu season.
Hector Amezcua/ hamezcua @sacbee.comDamatrius Jones, 8,
of Sacramento, and his mother, Joan Phillips, wait in line to get their flu vaccine during a Kaiser Permanente free flu clinic in Sacramento on Tuesday.
Statewide tallies put at 202 the number of people under 65 who have died of severe influenza so far this season, and state officials also reported a worrisome uptick in pertussis cases in 2013, including the first death of whooping cough since 2010.
The flu deaths are more than 11 times what California experienced last year at this time just 18 fatalities state public health officials said Friday. The toll is almost certain to increase, with another 41 lab-tested cases reported but awaiting confirmation, said Dr. James Watt, epidemiologist for the state Department of Public Health.
The flu remains widespread, continues to circulate widely in California and continues to exceed expected levels, Watt said.
More than two-thirds of the victims were ages 40 to 64, Watt said, reflecting how forceful the H1N1 virus is: Not even healthy young and middle-aged adults can be sure of escaping this flu, and may end up dying from it.