Two people from Polk County have been confirmed to have died from complications relating to the flu, according to Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier.
He said the families of those two victims who both came from the East Polk County area asked for their names not to be released, but he said details surrounding their deaths are being released now due to the public health safety concerns.
Brazier said the first victim was a 72-year-old Rockmart woman who was initially taken to Wellstar Paulding Medical Center for treatment, but then was rushed to Kennestone hospital once she developed respiratory distress.
She died three weeks ago, Brazier said.
Additionally, a 78-year-old Aragon man died from complica-tions due to the flu two weeks ago.
"The reason that we hadn't already passed along is that it takes a little while to subpoena and get medical records and confirm the findings we have," Brazier said. "We have to make sure we're dealing with what exactly we're dealing with be-fore we release notice on these kinds of cases."
Brazier also announced this morning that Deputy Coroners Marty Robinson and Ivan Warner are investigating a death from this past week where a 74-year-old Cedartown man became ill, and was rushed to Floyd Medical Center for treatment where he later died. The Cedartown man also suf-fered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, so additional testing is required before confirmations are provided.
He said that his hope is that people will take heed of advice and consult a doctor and get a flu shot as soon as possible.
"It's not too late to do so," he said.
Additionally, he added that thus far the 159 counties in Georgia had yet to report a child-related influenza death, an outcome the state is hoping to avoid as dozens of youth have died from flu-based complications over the past weeks.
"That is one of the things we're trying very hard to avoid, and subsequently we want to make this announcement," he said. "We're concerned about preventing any other consequential deaths relating to influenza, and protect our children from this strand of influenza we're having to battle at this point in time."
The Polk County Health Department, doctor's offices and urgent care facilities, and even some full-service pharmacies like CVS offer the flu shot. Brazier said he urges the public to do so now, since based on information he's received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, flu season isn't likely to peak for many weeks to come.
"We're being told now that it might be mid to late March before we begin to see cases taper off," Brazier said.