State health officials announce first flu-related death of season

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:45 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have announced the first flu-related death of the 2021-2022 flu season.

DHHS officials say an adult in the western part of the state died due to complications of the flu. The person, whose hometown, county, age, and gender will not be released, reportedly tested positive for influenza and negative for COVID-19.

“This is a sad reminder that flu can be a serious illness and can lead to complications and even death in some cases,” Dr. Zack Moore, state epidemiologist said.

The DHHS says last flu season (2020-2021), there were seven flu-related deaths. The year before (2019-2020), there were 186 flu-related deaths.

The department says during the five prior flu seasons before 2020-2021, the number of flu-related deaths ranged from 186-391. It also says North Carolina is seeing more influenza activity than at any time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Past flu season summaries can be found here and this season’s respiratory disease surveillance summary can be found here.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the midst of the flu season, creating even more demand of our state’s hospital beds,” Kody Kinsley, NCDHHS chief deputy secretary for health said.

As the Omicron variant has been detected in North Carolina and flu season is upon us, Gov. Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS secretary advise everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots.

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