The North American Department of Health and Human Services has announced the state’s first death from the flu this season.
The man was over 65 and lives in central North Carolina, officials said. To protect the privacy of the family, a person’s hometown, county, age and gender are not released.
Here, track flu deaths during the 2020-21 season. Updated numbers are announced every Thursday.
The public health department has been monitoring flu cases since September 27 and will continue to do so until May. In North Carolina, influenza infections are most common from late fall to early spring, and cases usually peak in January or February. Doctors say it is important to get vaccinated against the flu by the end of October.
People over 6 months of age are strongly advised to get the flu, especially during a COVID-19 pandemic. The flu vaccine is especially important for people over 65, children under 5, pregnant women and people with certain conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
“It’s a sad reminder that the flu can be a serious illness, and in some cases can lead to complications and even death,” said state epidemiologist Zach Moore, MD. “With the start of the flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for people to get the flu shot this year.”
During the 2019-20 flu season, 186 deaths from the flu were reported in North Carolina, compared to 208 deaths during the 2018-19 flu season. Of these 186 deaths, 105 are people aged 65 and over, and five are under 18.