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News Releases

DHEC Confirms 2022 Season’s First Flu-related Death in South Carolina

October 14, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that the state has suffered its first influenza-associated death of the season.

"Sadly, someone from the Midlands region has died from complications due to the flu,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist and DHEC’s Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. “While we can’t predict what the upcoming flu season will bring, we, like other states, are preparing for significant flu activity this year. It’s critical that everyone get their flu shot now, at the start of the season, as we’re already seeing widespread circulation of the virus.” 

DHEC and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated. Preventing the flu is particularly important for people who are at increased risk of complications from the virus, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart or lung disease. However, healthy people also can have serious complications from the flu.

While the flu can circulate any time of year, for surveillance purposes, the flu season begins Oct. 1. There have been 788 lab-confirmed cases of the flu and 33 flu-related hospitalizations in South Carolina so far this flu season – in just the first week. DHEC provides a weekly Flu Watch report published each Wednesday at

“We are concerned that there is the potential for a severe flu season in South Carolina and nationally based on what we’ve seen in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “Australia has just experienced one of its worst flu seasons in years, and that may mean that we, too, will experience a flu season that’s much more severe than what we’ve been accustomed to the last few years. Please don’t wait to get your flu shot.”

The same preventive methods that protect against COVID-19 also protect against the flu virus: vaccination, masks, frequent handwashing, and staying home or away for others while sick.

It takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to respond for full protection. It is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to be fully protected. 

The flu vaccine is available from many providers, including DHEC health departments, doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, schools and workplaces. For those who have not had either of the two, it is safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.

Flu vaccines offered at DHEC health department clinics are available by appointment. Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment or go to to find the nearest location. More information about preventing the flu is available at



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