RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina health officials reported the state’s first flu-related death on Tuesday.

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

The person had tested 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,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D., MPH. “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.”

While flu numbers dropped during the pandemic, North Carolina reported seeing more influenza activity than at any time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Flu season usually peaks in January or February in North Carolina.

The CDC recommends flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months and older. 

Flu vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments. To find a flu vaccine near you, visit vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccines.