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Pierce County reports first flu deaths this season as emergency room visits remain high.

Pierce County recently saw its first flu deaths this season. A woman in her 60s and a man in his 60s died from the flu earlier this month. Both had underlying health conditions.

Flu activity is high across the state. King County recently reported the state’s first child flu death this season.

rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections and COVID-19 cases compound a bad flu season. Emergency room visits are at high levels in Washington and around the country. Sick children are experiencing delays in getting hospital beds.

Now is the time to protect yourself against the flu and other respiratory illnesses. Get vaccinated, stay home when you’re sick and help others stay healthy.

Flu, RSV and COVID-19.

Healthcare providers report flu deaths to us. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) count a death as a flu death only if the person got a flu test and the medical examiner listed flu as the cause of death. The flu likely contributes to many deaths not counted as flu deaths. 

Flu, RSV and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, like:

  • Cough.
  • Fever.
  • Sore throat.
  • Body aches.

Only a healthcare provider can tell you if you have the flu or another illness. Get tested if you are sick.

Stop the spread.

With a bad flu season, RSV and COVID-19, emergency rooms are filling up. We need to stop the spread of these respiratory illnesses to preserve hospital beds and life-saving resources.

Take these steps to reduce your chance of getting sick or infecting others.

  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Consider wearing a mask around those most at risk.
  • Limit the time you spend in childcare centers or other potentially contagious settings.

If you haven’t yet, get your flu shot! It helps protect you and those around you. Find your flu shot and more info at and

Now is also the time to get your updated COVID-19 booster. It provides the best protection against severe illness. Everyone 5 years or older can get an updated booster, 2 months after their last booster or primary series. Find your dose today at