Veteran at Amarillo VA Health Care System tests positive for COVID-19

Local News
Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A veteran has tested positive for COVID-19 on March 26 at the Amarillo VA Health Care System.

Officials said the risk of transmission to other patients and staff remains low, as the veteran is being cared for in respiratory isolation by staff who are specially trained on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) treatment guidelines, including the use of personal protective equipment and infection control techniques. 

The City of Amarillo confirmed that the veteran is included in its confirmed number of cases.

The VA is screening Veterans and staff who present with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath who meet the CDC criteria for evaluation of COVID-19 infection. 

Per CDC guidance and VA protocols, patients known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others.

Veterans and staff are encouraged to take everyday preventive actions to avoid being exposed to the virus: 

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

· Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.

· Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

· If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call the VA before going to the facility.

The Amarillo VA Health Care System (AVAHCS) is urging area Veterans who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to call ahead to the VA centralized call center at 806-355-9703, Option 2 to be connected to a clinical provider who can provide guidance for the Veteran. Since Monday, the AVAHCS has been aggressively working to transition all scheduled face to face primary care and mental health appointments to virtual options. Any Veteran who has a scheduled appointment and who has not yet received a phone call should call the VA call center at 806-355-9703, Option 2 for additional guidance. 

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