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VA has at least six patients who tested positive for coronavirus

A researcher with the Emerging Infectious Disease branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conducts studies in order to find a solution for the coronavirus, March 3, 2020.

U.S. ARMY

By STEVE BEYNON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 10, 2020

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs has at least six coronavirus patients in its care, with five of them waiting for official confirmation, a VA official said Tuesday.

The single confirmed case is being treated as an inpatient at the VA in Palo Alto, California. Two others who tested positive but have not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease and Prevention are at the VA Southern Nevada Health Care System in Las Vegas and at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans.

The remaining three patients are being quarantined at home after testing positive at theVA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle; the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Denver; and the VA Portland Health Care System in Oregon.

The list was provided by Christina Mandreucci, a VA spokeswoman. It is unclear what specific care the patients at home are receiving, and she cited privacy concerns for not revealing details. The department will not release details on how its patients contracted the virus or their age range, citing privacy concerns, despite that information being available for patients outside the VA's care.

As the VA prepares for potential coronavirus cases across the country, it is screening all staff and patients who show symptoms of the virus. Dozens of VA hospitals and nursing homes have put out strict warnings against visitation and the agency is imploring veterans who believe they might have contracted the disease to call a VA facility before showing up.

The VA is tasked with caring for more than 9 million veterans, marking it has the largest health-care network in the country. Half of the veterans who use VA services are older than 65, one of the groups most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Beynon.Steven@Stripes.com
Twitter: @StevenBeynon

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