There have now been 82 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza, formerly known as swine flu, involving residents of Kern County, the county Public Health Department said Thursday.

Last week at this time the tally stood at 60.

So far Kern County has had seven hospitalized confirmed cases, the department said. There are likely more influenza cases out there in Kern that are not being confirmed through testing, it pointed out.

The ways to best protect against the illness is to:

* Cover your cough.

* Clean your hands.

* Confine sick people at home.

For more information, call the swine flu hotline at 877-81VIRUS.