The flu is a topic of nationwide importance, and two of Missoula's health care facilities share the measures they are taking to care for flu patients, and protect other patients, staff and visitors from contracting the virus.

Pamela Goldberg, the infection control coordinator at Missoula Community Medical Center said, as of Friday afternoon, they had admitted eight confirmed cases of influenza 'A'. She said those who are admitted are isolated so that nurses don't spread the virus to other patients. Goldberg said the hospital recently held a push to vaccinate their staff, with over 94% compliance.

Goldberg says their flu cases range from babies to a person in their 60's, so the virus can affect anyone of any age. She also says her staff are constantly making sure to use hand sanitizers, as well as asking those who have flu symptoms to refrain from visiting the hospital.

Pamela Goldberg, Community Medical Center

Village Health Care Center is a much smaller facility that contains both a rest home and a rehabilitation center. Executive director Kathy Hammond says medical personnel confirmed recently that one of their residents had contracted influenza 'A', so they initiated protective protocols to keep other residents and visitors from contracting the virus.

Hammond says the facility, for a limited time, is not taking any new residents. Current residents are having their meals delivered to their rooms, rather than congregate in the dining room. She says the staff are reviewing good hand-washing protocols and other safety procedures.

She says is a resident has the flu, staff and visitors are asked to wear a mask and gloves to keep from spreading the virus.

Hammond says the flu vaccine is offered to all staff and residents, but is not required.

To keep residents engaged, Hammond says the staff spend more time in residents and patients rooms, talking with them and keeping them company, since they are not able to use the dining room.

Kathy Hammond with Village Health Care Center