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

At present, there are no positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff of the Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke or the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center (SBVCC) in Richmond.

Forty-four residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 have passed away since March 2020: 32 at the Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke and 12 at SBVCC.

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), 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.

Visitation

VVCC and SBVCC have resumed in-person family visits on a “by appointment” basis.  Visits must be scheduled in advance.  Family members should contact the care centers directly to schedule an in-person visit, set up a phone call or video chat, or for help with e-mail. A care center team member will explain the procedures that must be followed during in-person visits, including screening requirements, limits on the number of family members that may visit at any one time, and the requirement for wearing of PPE.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services operates VVCC and SBVCC. As of April 16, 2021 VVCC provides care for 156 residents; 307 staff members care for them.  SBVCC provides care for 153 residents; 335 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.