The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported 2,866 positive COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, with 10 positive outpatient cases reported from the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, which oversees the VA clinic in Hull.
“The Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Athens (Hull) had one employee test positive for COVID-19 March 27,” said Scott Speaks, U.S. Department of Veterans Chief of Public Affairs in Augusta. “In accordance with CDC guidelines and the employee’s status, the individual is currently in home isolation, mitigating further risk of transmission to other patients and staff. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot provide additional information. To date, the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Athens has not encountered any Veterans test positive for COVID-19.”
There have been 75 veterans with coronavirus reported in Atlanta, 14 inpatient and 61 outpatient.
The most up to date information regarding Veteran patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis can be found at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/.
“VA is screening veterans and staff who present with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath who meet the CDC criteria for evaluation of COVID-19 infection,” said Speak. “Per CDC guidance and VA protocols, individuals known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others.”
Speaks said staff are screening at entrances with basic questions to help ensure individuals get the care they need while not exposing patients, staff and other guests.
“Access will be determined on a case-by-case decision where the visitor is critical to the care of the veteran,” he said. “Only visitors without symptoms will be permitted to enter the Medical Center as dictated by the current situation. No visitors under the age of 18 are permitted, including infants. No Visitors will be allowed to wait in common areas (canteen areas, waiting rooms, vending areas, etc.). These restrictions apply to all care locations, including health care facilities, Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs}, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms.”
Speaks said that if veterans are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms, they need to call 911 and contact VA within 72 hours of emergency admission.
“Veterans who are experiencing non-acute flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath should call (706) 729-5779 before visiting the medical center or clinic,” he said. “In addition to calling first, consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. Visitors who do not feel well are encouraged to please postpone their visit.”