Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center limits entrances, screens visitors to protect against COVID-19 - Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
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Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center

 

Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center limits entrances, screens visitors to protect against COVID-19

March 10, 2020

AUGUSTA, GA (March 10, 2020) – Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is paying special attention to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). Though no patients have tested positive for COVID-19 at Charlie Norwood VAMC, protecting Veterans and staff is our highest priority.

“Our team is taking every precaution to protect our patients, our caregivers, and our community. We have implemented special precautions to inhibit any spread of this virus should we have a Veteran present with an active case of coronavirus,” said Dr. Robin Jackson, Medical Center Director.

Currently, 99% of staff received training on Personal Protective Equipment with the remaining few on leave or in the process of completing the training. Employees were also retrained on the appropriate response protocol should a Veteran present with active COVID-19.

To protect our patients, guests, and caregivers, the facility is also conducting community outreach messaging and screening of all patients and visitors entering facilities. The Charlie Norwood VAMC Uptown and Downtown campuses, public entrances have been limited to two for each location. Entrances for the Uptown division are the main entrance and valet parking entrance. The Downtown entrances include the main entrance and the spinal cord injury entrance. When visitors or patients arrive, they should utilize the identified entrances only.

Greeters will be screening at those entrances with a list of basic questions to help ensure that individuals who might spread the virus get the care they need while not exposing patients, staff, and other guests. This may lengthen entry times, so patients should arrive early for their appointments.

The screening consists of three questions:

  1. Do you have a fever? Do you have worsening cough or flu-like symptoms?
  2. Have you traveled to China, Japan, Italy, Iran, or South Korea in the last 14 days?
  3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have the coronavirus disease?

If Veterans are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms, they need to call 911 and contact VA within 72 hours of emergency admission. Veterans who are experiencing non-acute flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath should call (706) 729-5779 before visiting the medical center or clinic. In addition to calling first, consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. Visitors, who do not feel well are encouraged to please postpone their visit.

“For many people, COVID-19 will present very similarly to the flu, and they will recover safely at home with rest and fluids,” said Dr. Srinivas Ginjupalli, Chief of Staff. “The best protection right now is hand washing, covering your cough, and avoiding large groups of people.”

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About Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center:

 Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center is a two-division, three Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) medical center providing tertiary care in medicine, surgery, neurology, psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine, and spinal cord injury.  The Downtown Division is authorized 156 beds (58 medicine, 27 surgery, and 71 spinal cord injury).  The Uptown Division, located approximately three miles away, is authorized 82 beds (57 psychiatry, 15 blind rehabilitation and 10 rehabilitation medicine).  In addition, a 132-bed Restorative/Nursing Home Care Unit and a 60-bed Domiciliary are located at the Uptown Division. The medical center serves as a network resource for the treatment of spinal cord injury, blind rehabilitation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychiatry patients.

For more information about Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, visit: https://www.augusta.va.gov/. For Coronavirus updates visit https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/index.asp.