COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Friday confirmed the state’s first flu-related death of the 2022 season.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said that the person was from the Midlands region and “died from complications due to the flu.”

In just the first week of flu season, which begins October 1, DHEC reported 788 lab-confirmed cases of the flu and 33 flu-related hospitalizations across the state.

Based on the experience of other countries who have already experienced their flu season, DHEC’s Public Health Director, Dr. Brannon Traxler, said that officials are “concerned that there is the potential for a severe flu season in South Carolina and nationally.”

Dr. Bell said that DHEC is “preparing for significant flu activity this year,” and urged everyone to get a flu shot.

DHEC recommends getting the shot early in the season since it takes two weeks for the body’s immune system to respond for full protection.