North Carolina health officials say at least 9 people died of flu during Christmas week

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — State health officials say at least nine people died from influenza in North Carolina during the week of Christmas.

Health officials told media outlets that only eight flu deaths had been reported across the state this season through the week that ended Dec. 20. The nine people who died the following week did not include any children.

Hospitals reported that more than 950 patients in North Carolina tested positive for flu. That's up from about 350 the week before.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said flu had reached the epidemic level.

Hospitals across the state are struggling to deal with the spread of the illness.

Officials urge people with the flu to stay home.

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