Roseburg VA responds to DeFazio letter over COVID-19 cases

In a letter to Director Keith Allen, DeFazio asked questions about COVID-19 protocols, personal protective equipment and more.

Posted: Oct 1, 2020 11:39 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 4:26 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. – After reports indicating several COVID-19 cases among staff and patients at the Roseburg VA Health Care System (RVAHCS), Rep. Peter DeFazio has questions.

In a letter to Director Keith Allen, DeFazio asked questions about COVID-19 protocols, personal protective equipment and more.

“The Roseburg VA is a critical health facility for veterans across southwest Oregon—they deserve every assurance that the hospital is doing everything in their power to protect their staff and patients,” DeFazio said. “It’s imperative that RVAHCS is open and transparent about the protocols they have in place to contain the spread of any COVID-19 infections.”

The Roseburg VA responded to DeFazio's questions. Below are the answers they provided to DeFazio's questions:

DeFazio: How many active positive cases of COVID-19 does RVAHCS currently have among patients and staff?

VA: See VA patient and employee COVID case updates here. Note: You can search by facility.

DeFazio: How long has RVAHCS known about these current active positive cases?

VA: Active positive cases are updated on the website as soon as cases are confirmed. It’s important to note that no Veterans receiving direct inpatient care at an RVAHCS facility have contracted coronavirus due to extreme safety protocols that have protected our most vulnerable Veteran population. We have maintained near daily contact with county, state, and federal response teams and other stakeholders to keep the public informed and implement the processes and procedures that have kept the coronavirus largely out of our facilities.

DeFazio: What is the total number of patients and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at RVAHCS since the start of the pandemic?

VA: See VA patient and employee COVID case updates here.

DeFazio: What protocols do you have in place to: Test and screen staff and patients at your facilities? Protect both patients and staff from further spread related to these current positive cases? Prevent any future outbreaks of COVID-19 at RVAHCS?

VA: RVAHCS has put in place rigorous safety measures at its facilities, including employee and Veteran COVID-19 screening, physical distancing and appropriate personal protective equipment such as face coverings. Additionally, RVAHCS will continue to maximize the personalized virtual care options of telehealth, phone consults and wellness checks, as these services have been a valuable link to Veterans during this challenging time.

DeFazio: What is the average turnaround time for the COVID-19 tests that RVAHCS conducts for patients and staff?

VA: The RSVAHCS has several testing modes. Depending on the test performed, results are returned in four to 48 hours.

DeFazio: Does RVAHCS currently have the PPE, COVID-19 supplies, and all other medical supplies and equipment it needs to tackle this outbreak and prevent infection from spreading?

VA: Yes. RVAHCS has adequate PPE for current demand. We continue to adhere to the same CDC guidelines for Personal Protective Equipment that all health care facilities use.

DeFazio: Is RVAHCS conducting contact tracing to limit or prevent the possibility of additional positive cases stemming from the current positive cases?

VA: Yes. The RVAHCS Employee Occupational Health and Infection Prevention teams track and log both Veteran and employee testing results each day. It is important to note that, as is believed by the Douglas County Health Network, the genesis of active employee infections is likely outside the RVAHCS and that, as stated by Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, the Douglas County Public Health Officer, “We believe that it is safe for residents to continue to seek medical care at both the Roseburg VA and Mercy Medical Center, because they have been focused on safeguarding the welfare of their patients by quickly identifying and isolating any cases.” Per CDC guidance and VA protocols, employees and patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others.

Read DeFazio's full letter below:

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