Each week during the flu season (usually starting at the beginning of October and ending by the middle of May) the Epidemiology Program updates this report with data collected across the county to get an idea of influenza activity in the area. The Sentinel Influenza Report consists of a summary and three sections of data collected from a few providers spread across the county, emergency departments at each of the five Santa Barbara County hospitals and Public Health and Hospital laboratory samples.
Each week, the six providers that have chosen to join the Sentinel Influenza Project, submit a form to the Epi Program that collects the total number of patients seen each day and number seen for Influenza-like Illness (ILI) each day, as well as some demographic data of the ILI patients. The table of Laboratory Sample Data helps give an idea of the types of flu circulating in the community. The total number of flu samples tested and the percentages of types A or B collected as well as any subtype data – unsubtypeable implies H1N1 type of flu.