VA now tracking more than 200 coronavirus-infected veterans

Abbie Bennett
March 23, 2020 - 12:42 pm
Coronavirus

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The number of veterans infected with the coronavirus continues to climb.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now tracking more than 200 veterans who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

So far, VA says two veterans have died because of the virus. 

Veterans, family members and advocates told Connecting Vets the number is greater, but VA included just two on its official list, along with more than 204 cases of veterans testing positive nationwide as of March 23.

The city with the largest number of veterans testing positive is New Orleans, with 65, 44 in VA inpatient care, 20 quarantined at home and one pending case. 

No other single location on VA’s list came close. The next most cases were in Atlanta, with 17 -- two in VA inpatient care and 15 quarantined at home. 

VA said Monday that it had “administered over 1,524 COVID-19 tests nationwide.” 

While VA leaders including Secretary Robert Wilkie have continued to reassure the public that VA capacity is not strained by its coronavirus response and that supplies, equipment and staff are at adequate levels, veterans, like many Americans, still are concerned.

Calls to veteran crisis hotline up 12 percent during COVID-19 outbreak, Wilkie tells VSOs

Over recent weeks, VA has shut down visitation at its nursing homes and other facilities with vulnerable veterans, later expanding that to most of its facilities. 

VA officials are asking veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath to call before arriving at a VA medical facility. Many appointments are being moved online using VA’s telehealth system in an attempt to further prevent the spread of infection. 

VA already began canceling elective surgeries and other procedures to pivot its focus more fully to immediate needs, including virus response. 

VA also produced a guide for veterans on coronavirus

Amid coronavirus spread, Wilkie calls report that showed 43,000 VA vacancies 'silly'

Another veteran has died of COVID-19, VA tracking more than 100 cases

VA is a last line of defense in the US against national medical emergencies like pandemics

'We stand ready': Wilkie says VA is working to get more coronavirus tests, open more beds

VA doctor tested positive for COVID-19 but still saw patients before quarantine

VA tells Congress COVID-19 could affect 20 percent of its patients, asks for more money

 

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If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (select option 1 for a VA staff member). Veterans, service members or their families also can text 838255 or go to veteranscrisisline.net.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.

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