First Veteran Dies From Coronavirus
By USVCP Staff Writers
March 16, 2020
A veteran from Oregon died over the weekend from the coronavirus, in what is the first fatal case tracked by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the first veteran-linked fatality to be made public.
The veteran, in his mid-70s, died Saturday, March 14, 2020 at the VA Portland Medical Center due to complications from the virus. The case was initially categorized as a presumptive positive case.
The VA has also updated its rolling tally of cases of coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, to reflect one death.
To protect more veterans from exposure to the coronavirus, VA-operated nursing homes have implemented a “no visitor” policy.
VA medical specialists are currently tracking five more confirmed coronavirus cases, four in the Western United States and one in Maine, as well as 25 presumptive positive cases around the country.
VA officials said in a press release that they have administered "more than 100" COVID-19 tests to date.
Currently, the VA only has 3,000 test kits available,1,000 of the test kits were provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and will be used first. An additional 2,000 VA-developed tests will only be used on veterans who show symptoms of the coronavirus.
Veterans not in VA care currently are asked to self-quarantine if possible.
If necessary, some veterans who believe they are infected with the coronavirus should seek help from their local VA. A few VAMCs are uniquely equipped to treat veterans with respiratory symptoms associated with the coronavirus, offering negative pressure isolation rooms that contain negative air flow to help prevent cross-contamination to others.
According to VA officials, VA has 1,000 isolation rooms throughout the VA healthcare system, more than any other health care system in the United States.