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COVID-19 Positive Case at the Virginia Veterans Care Center

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) is currently monitoring one active COVID-19 case, one staff member at the Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke. The staff member is at home in self-isolation and under the care of their personal health care provider (PHCP).  Residents, family members, and staff have been notified of the positive case.

Forty four residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 have passed away since October 4th, 2020: 12 at SBVCC and 32 at VVCC.

The health, care, and safety of residents, staff and families is VDVS’s top priority, and we have put a number of measures in place to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our facilities and treat any resident who becomes infected.  These measures include:

Vaccine Administration

The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered to residents and staff at VVCC and SBVCC on January 6, 2021. The second dose was administered on January 27, 2021.

Following published guidelines, regular contact with experts, and on-site reviews

The care centers are following Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guidelines about how to protect and care for residents and staff, including infection control procedures and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);

Care center operating policies and procedures are reviewed regularly and updated according to the latest VDH, CDC, CMS, and VA guidelines;

Both care centers have frequent contact with their local VDH and VA Medical Center representatives regarding PPE use, infection control, and resident care. In-person reviews have continued to help ensure the health and safety of care center residents and staff.

Frequent testing

Both facilities are using point-of-care (POC) antigen testing devices to quickly test residents and staff who are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected of COVID-19 exposure;

SBVCC and VVCC are currently conducting tests once per week. Minimum frequency of testing is based on local-area positivity rates.

PPE use

At a minimum, all staff who enter a resident’s room wear surgical or KN-95 masks;

If a resident’s condition warrants additional PPE, staff wear N95 respirators, gloves, gowns, goggles, and face shields per VDH and CDC protocols;

Regular training is conducted on proper wear of PPE. N95 “fit testing” is also done regularly.

Screening/health checks

Residents are screened three times a day (temperature and vitals). Any resident with an elevated temperature or showing other potential signs of COVID-19 exposure is immediately isolated and a COVID-19 POC test is performed;

All persons entering the care centers are screened (temperature taken) and asked about potential COVID-19 exposure and if they have experienced any symptoms in the past 24 hours.  Persons with an elevated temperature, potential exposure, or symptoms compatible with COVID-19 are denied entry;

Staff who are sick or exhibiting symptoms compatible with COVID-19 are directed to stay home and contact their personal health care provider.

Limited Visitation

The Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke has resumed in-person family visits on a by appointment basis at the contactless indoor visitation station.  Visits must be scheduled in advance. The Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center (SBVCC) in Richmond will begin offering the same service on Monday, March 15.  Family members should contact the care centers directly to schedule an appointment.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services operates the Sitter & Barfoot and Virginia Veterans Care Centers. As of March 12, 2021 SBVCC provides care for 151 residents; 339 staff members care for them. VVCC provides care for 142 residents; 305 staff members care for them.

Questions may be directed to VDVS Communications Director Tina Parlett-Calhoun at: tina.parlett-calhoun@dvs.virginia.gov or 804-371-0441.