State health officials said Thursday that 12 people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, pushing the record death toll in 2017-18 to 276.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports there was one pediatric death among those reported in the week ending March 3. The total includes another 11 people whose deaths in previous weeks were flu-related. Last season, 218 people died from the flu in North Carolina, matching the total in 2014-15.
The department said 199 of the deaths reported in the state during this flu season have involved people age 65 and older. That includes 14 in the latest report.
The latest report marks the fewest flu deaths in the state since the first week in January, when DHHS reported 11 deaths.
Last week, health officials said the flu season peaked in early February and has been fading ever since. Also, the number of people going to the doctor with symptoms of the flu has continued to decline.
"In the Triad and most of North Carolina, influenza and influenza-like illness peaked in mid-February," Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious-diseases expert with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, told the Winston-Salem Journal . "Cases have decreased considerably over the last three weeks and hospitals in our region are monitoring the situation."
DHHS secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen told legislators Feb. 28 that March is likely to have some weeks of continued high activity.