Riverside County’s first confirmed flu-related death of the 2020-21 flu season was announced Wednesday, a man in his 80s from the San Jacinto Valley.

The man, whose name was not released, died last week at Riverside University Health System-Medical Center in Moreno Valley. Additional information about the man was not released, including whether he had preexisting medical conditions.

“There has never been a more important time for someone to get their flu shot because we are also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. “Getting the vaccine is the most effective way to prevent contracting the flu.”

Eight deaths were recorded in the county in the 2019-20 flu season, compared to nine the prior year. In light of the coronavirus threat, county Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser urged residents to get their flu shots before the end of October.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older, and children 8 and under who haven’t gotten at least two flu shots in past seasons might need two shots for full protection.

Officials noted that some of the same preventive measures used to curb the spread of coronavirus may also help to stop the flu, including wearing a mask, frequent hand washing and maintaining physical distance from others.

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