VA Medical Center announces first presumptive positive COVID-19 case

WHITE RIVER JCT., Vt. – A veteran inpatient presumptively tested positive for COVID-19 March 13 at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. The facility is awaiting confirmatory testing from the Centers for Disease Control.

White River Junction VA Medical Center.
White River Junction VA Medical Center. Photo provided

The veteran is being cared for in respiratory isolation by staff who are specially trained on the Centers for Disease Control treatment guidelines, including the use of personal protective equipment and infection control techniques.

VA is screening veterans and staff who meet the CDC criteria for evaluation of COVID-19 infection such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. 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.

Veterans and staff are encouraged to take everyday preventive actions to avoid being exposed to the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call the VA before going to the facility.

While the Centers for Disease Control still considers COVID-19 to be a low threat to the general American public, the White River Junction VA Health Care System is paying special attention to it.

As part of this process, everyone who enters the campus will be prescreened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments. White River Junction VA Medical Center has also begun restricting access to visitors and children under the age of 18.

The screening consists of three questions:

  • Do you have a fever or worsening cough or flu-like symptoms?
  • Have you traveled to China, Japan, Italy, Iran, or South Korea in the last 14 days?
  • Have you been in close contact with someone, including healthcare workers, confirmed to have the coronavirus disease?

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