FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WPDE) — Veterans and personnel will now be screened before entering Veterans Affairs facilities in Southeastern North Carolina, according to Tara Ricks-Edger, the communications director with the Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs.
Facilities in Fayetteville, Robeson County, Lee County, Goldsboro, Cumberland County, Brunswick County, Jacksonville and Hamlet are part of the Southeastern region of NC, according to VA officials.
Ricks-Edger said this measure is to stop the exposure or spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
Fayetteville VA NC Coastal Health Care System will be conducting the screenings on all Veterans, employees, visitors, volunteers and contractors starting immediately, according to Ricks-Edger.
"Our facilities are both staffed and supplied to manage potentially impacted Veterans. We are following CDC guidelines for intake precautions," she said.
Ricks-Edgar said officials are directing Veterans to do the following:
"If Veterans are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms, call 911 and contact your VA provider within 72 hours of emergency admission.
If Veterans have symptoms of coronavirus such as fever with cough or shortness of breath, please stay home and contact your primary care team, or the Clinical Contact Center at 1-800-771-6106 and press 2 before coming to a VA facility. Clinical staff is available to provide 24/7 virtual care and support, including nurse advice and triage.
Veterans who have traveled to a foreign country in the last 14 days or have direct contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, call 1-800-771-6106 and press 2 BEFORE coming to the clinic, even if symptoms are not present.
Unless needed, we are asking patients not to bring visitors to appointments.
The communications director said VA is also monitoring the coronavirus situation through its Emergency Management Coordination Cell. Ricks-Edger added they are collaborating with health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Rick-Edger added these collaborations are "to ensure Veterans benefit from the latest prevention, testing and treatment protocols and develop emergency management plans for medical centers."
VA officials provided a guide for Veterans.
There is also a North Carolina helpline available 24/7 and staffed by nurses and pharmacists, to answer questions about coronavirus, including symptoms, reducing the risk of exposure and more. Call 866-462-3821 and press 1 for English or to ask for a language interpreter. Spanish speakers should press 2.