The Department of Veterans Affairs is working directly with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus and implement an aggressive public health response to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. To date, VA has administered over 7,425 COVID-19 tests nationwide while taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
Measures include outreach to veteran patients and staff, screening at VA health care facilities, and protective procedures for VA’s most vulnerable patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units.
“The American people can be proud that we have the most comprehensive veterans assistance of any nation in the world. And all of us can be assured that the VA is ready to help stop the spread of the coronavirus,” wrote VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a Military Times op-ed. “The VA has proudly served as a frontline responder after natural disasters such as the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico and our southern states, and VA is preparing to play that role again during this national emergency,” said Wilkie. “In fact, we have already deployed some of our staff to assist the Department of Health and Human Services, and we are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak.”
In efforts to bolster medical staffs, VA requested a waiver from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make it easier for the department to rehire retired VA health care workers and which will help VA health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. VA is inviting interested retired physicians, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals to register online.
“This action helps give the department surge capacity as needed,” said Wilkie. “On behalf of all the veterans we serve, I thank OPM for its quick action and invite our retired health care workers to consider coming back to VA during this crucial time.”
To do your part in flattening the curve in the COVID-19 pandemic, VA and the CDC released these advised precautions:
Practice social distancing
Get a flu shot
Keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Avoid people who are sick
Stay home and away from others when sick
Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or your arm/sleeve. Dispose of tissues in the trash.
Keep surfaces clean using disinfecting wipes
Check the CDC advisories prior to planning travel.
For the latest VA updates on coronavirus and common-sense tips on preventing the spread of disease, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/.
Stay informed on message from American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford and other news stories regarding the coronavirus at www.legion.org/coronavirus.