Local health-care providers and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department received H1N1 flu vaccines Thursday — with more expected in the next few days — as the number of H1N1-related hospitalizations continued to rise.

Six residents were hospitalized with probable or confirmed cases of the virus in the past week, raising the total number of hospitalizations to 37, according to Susan Klein-Rothschild, a department spokeswoman. The first occurred in mid-June.

Three of the 37 hospitalized patients later died. A 12-year-old female with underlying medical conditions also has died, but it has not been confirmed as an H1N1 death and is not included in the official numbers reported to the state.

There were also two H1N1 patients who died in county hospitals who were not county residents, including a 58-year-old Orange County man and a 71-year-old woman from Kern County, Klein-Rothschild said.

The department said it will monitor the inventory of vaccine (nasal mist or injectable), the names of the providers who receive them and how much is received by each health-care provider.

Distribution of any available vaccines will go first to those identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as at the highest risk for severe illness or death.

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Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at mnelson@noozhawk.com.