Twelve more flu deaths have been reported in North Carolina this season.
"While these numbers are encouraging, I continue to urge anyone who hasn't yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones", said state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
"Statewide emergency department visits attributed to the flu have decreased for the last four weeks, but at 8.8%, remain well above the baseline level of 5% statewide", health officials said in a press release.
A woman in her 60s, with underlying medical conditions, also died as a result of complications related to the flu. The flu also killed one patient in the 19 to 24 age group, and three children, age 18 or younger.
The alarmingly high number of pediatric deaths so far during the 2017-2018 flu season reinforce the need to shift away from the traditional chicken-egg-based approach to mass production of commercial influenza vaccines, according to consultant GlobalData. Of the victims, 91 were age 65 or older, 12 were ages 50 to 64, and five were ages 25 to 49.
Cabaj said the flu vaccine target set by Alberta Health this season was 35 per cent of the population - a goal that hasn't yet been reached.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state's health secretary, told legislators February 28 that March is likely to have some weeks of continued high activity. The agency is waiving administrative for the flu shot at its public health clinics.
In all, there have been 7,312 cases of the flu diagnosed in Horry County, according to DHEC's most recent data.
There were 299 confirmed flu cases last week among the state's seven largest hospital networks, representing 2.8 percent of the 10,568 confirmed flu cases those hospitals have experienced for the season.
"On the down side, we'd certainly like to see that number always higher than it is".
The latest weekly Walgreens flu index has North Carolina ranked seventh in the country for flu activity. "We don't know. It's really hard to predict flu, but it could be a month and a half", Fry said.