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COVID-19 Positive Cases at the Sitter & Barfoot and Virginia Veterans Care Centers

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) is currently monitoring four active COVID-19 cases (four staff) at the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center (SBVCC) in Richmond and 14 active cases (nine residents, five staff) at the Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke.  The COVID-19 positive residents are isolated from other residents, while the employees are 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 cases.

Thirty-four residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 have passed away since October 4th:  11 at SBVCC and 23 at VVCC.  Primary next of kin have been notified of the deaths.

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:

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. Most recently, the VVCC was visited by the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC) on November 4, 2020 as part of its infection prevention inspection program.

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 tests all residents and staff at least once per week and VVCC two times 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.

Closed to visitors

The care centers are closed to all visitors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Exceptions are made for family members to visit a resident in an end-of-life stage, with prior coordination.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services operates the Sitter & Barfoot and Virginia Veterans Care Centers. As of November 13, 2020 SBVCC provides care for 154 residents; 336 staff members care for them. VVCC provides care for 141 residents; 305 staff members care for them.

In addition, on October 22, 2020 both facilities began receiving staff support from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, part of the VA’s Fourth Mission to support states and localities in times of national emergency.

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