In the midst of one of the worst flu outbreaks in decades, local hospitals are taking extra precautions to help prevent the spread.
Officials at Blessing Hospital say employees are required to get a flu shot, a policy put into place last year.
Employee Health Coordinator Brenda Ellingson says this not only protects workers, but also the patients they treat every day.
Ellingson says so far, 95 percent of their staff have received a flu shot.
Employees who do not have a flu shot because of allergies or other reasons must wear a mask when working with patients - even if they don't have flu-like symptoms.
The hospital has also put up posters about flu prevention and installed respiratory hygiene stations with tissues, masks, and hand sanitizer.
Hannibal Regional Hospital and Keokuk Area Hospital require employees to get the flu shot, but do allow exemptions for religious and medical reasons.
McDonough District Hospital encourages their staff to get vaccinated, but it's not required. Still, 85 percent have voluntarily gotten it.
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