North Carolina is seeing more flu activity than at any time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
So far one person has died of the flu in North Carolina this year, an adult in the western part of the state. That person tested positive for flu but negative for COVID-19, the DHHS said in announcing the death. Other information about the person such as name, hometown, county, gender or age is not released, a state policy to protect the privacy of the deceased.
“This is a sad reminder that flu can be a serious illness and can lead to complications and even death in some cases,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore.
In an average year, North Carolina loses almost 300 people to the flu. In contrast, since March 2020, COVID-19 has claimed more than 19,000 lives in the state. Flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring with activity usually peaking in January or February.
“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,” Moore said.
The CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and can make illness milder for those who do catch it.