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Deadly flu season numbers have Butte senior center taking precautions

Now that flu season is underway a senior center in Butte is being extra cautious with both its staff members and guests.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that last winter an estimated 80,000 Americans died of the flu and its complications.

The Belmont Senior Center says staff members are constantly washing their hands and doing some extra cleaning in the dining room area.

The center is also preparing for the season by having local pharmacies come into the center to offer flu shots to seniors and staff members.

Ann Ueland, executive director of Belmont Senior Center, says although employees and guests are already showing symptoms it’s not a requirement for everyone to get a flu shot.

"For my staff I try to educate them. Yes, we should all get a flu shot, but there are personal reasons that they just don't want to," Ueland said.

This time of year is especially dangerous for seniors. The Montana Communicable Disease Epidemiology reported that 71 percent of people hospitalized with the flu last year were 65 and over.

Ueland tells NBC Montana they’re encouraging staff and seniors to stay home if they are sick.

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