FOUNTAIN VALLEY (CBSLA) — Incidences of influenza in U.S. hospitals are higher than they’ve been in nearly a decade, and the number is expected to keep growing.

The Centers for Disease Control report the number of visits to a physician for “influenza-like illness” is the highest since the flu epidemic of 2009. It’s predicted that by the end of this flu season, 700,000 will have been hospitalized, with 34 million having contracted the virus.

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The California Dept. of Public Health’s tally of flu-related deaths has reached 23 people under the age of 64 just for the week of Jan. 14. Baby boomers seem to be at high risk.

That surge is apparent at Southland hospitals, which have had to improvise to cater to the overflow crowd of ailing persons.

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At Orange Coast Memorial in Fountain Valley, employees set up a large, yellow tent just outside the hospital where people can wait to see a doctor, in order to ease crowding in the lobby.

Over the past month, hospitals across the state have reported a slight decrease in flu patients, but the season is still going strong.

Doctors, as usual, recommend that people who think they have the flu stay home. It’s recommended a person seek emergency medical attention if they have difficulty breathing, chest pain, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe vomiting or flu-like symptoms that subside then return with a fever or worsening cough.

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Nearly 100 people have died of the flu in California this season.