First flu-related death reported in North Carolina

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

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The first flu-related death of the season has been reported in North Carolina as the state continues to deal with the impact of COVID-19, health officials said Tuesday.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said an adult in the western part of the state died due to complications of influenza during the second week of December.

A news release said the unidentified person tested positive for influenza and negative for COVID-19.

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“With flu cases increasing and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for people to get a flu vaccine this year, as well as a COVID-19 vaccination or booster if they have not already done so,” said state epidemiologist Zack Moore in the news release.

The department says while influenza cases and deaths were historically low during the 2020-21 flu season, the number of flu deaths reported in North Carolina ranged from 186 to 391 during the five previous seasons. The state is currently seeing more influenza activity than at any time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, DHHS said.