What you should know on COVID-19:
VA is working closely with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners, monitoring an outbreak of Novel Coronavirus which was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Veterans, if you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call before you visit your local medical center or clinic. In addition to calling first, consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. Visitors, if you do not feel well, please postpone your visit to VA facilities. Read VA’s latest information on the new coronavirus at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/.
Cases have been identified in the United States* and other international locations.* This new strain belongs to a group of viruses called coronavirus which can cause symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath.
VA has activated its emergency management coordination cell (EMCC) and is implementing an aggressive and collaborative public health response to protect and care for Veterans. United States is actively screening everyone who has traveled in China for this new disease. Americans who come back from the part of China where the number of infections is very high are required to limit close contact with other people and report changes in their health. VA has been planning for this type of event and is prepared to protect and care for Veterans who receive their health care from VA.
What precautions to take
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 infection and no medication to treat it. CDC believes symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Avoid exposure and avoid exposing others to an infection with these simple acts.
- Learn to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store or by contacting your VA care team, before any urgent problems arise.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Getting a flu shot is recommended.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have both
- symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath and
- have either recently returned from China or have direct exposure to others diagnosed with 2019-nCoV.
Call before visiting your local VA medical center to seek care or sign in to MyHealtheVet and send a Secure Message. VA telehealth options may be able to offer a prompt diagnosis and comprehensive care.
What precautions to take when traveling
The U.S. government has imposed travel restrictions for all non-essential travel to China. Additionally, U.S. citizens returning from the region will undergo enhanced screening procedures. Generally, foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and flight crew) who have traveled in China within 14 days of their arrival, will be denied entry into the U.S. If you have international travel plans, review this specific guidance for travelers.*
Links to CDC resources such as FAQs and fact sheets
Protect Yourself – Protect Others!
Know the symptoms
COVID-19 is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in humans, usually 2–14 days after exposure. Illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus is thought to spread mainly from close contact with an affected person. It spreads in the air, like flu, through droplets from sneezes and coughs. The droplets can stay suspended in the air for some time and can land on surfaces that are touched by others.
To ensure patient safety, please allow additional time when you arrive for your appointments at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.
As an extra precaution, please be prepared to discuss all recent travel, and contact with others who have a confirmed COVID-19 infection. If you have a fever, cough, or other flu-like symptoms when scheduling or arriving for an appointment, immediately tell health care screeners at the Shreveport VA.
If You are Sick…:
• Stay home except to get medical care
• Separate yourself from other people; if possible, use a separate bathroom
• Call ahead before visiting your doctor
• Wear a facemask when around others and before you enter a health care provider’s office. Please note, masks are provided by the VA for individuals exhibiting flu-like symptoms. VA does not provide masks to Veterans or staff for home isolation or quarantine.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes
• Clean your hands often
• Avoid sharing personal household items
• Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily
• Monitor your symptoms; seek prompt medical attention if your illness is getting worse. Before seeking care, call your health care provider for instructions. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify dispatch that you have COVID-19 and put on a face mask.
Follow these steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water—Alcohol-based hand cleaners work too
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—discard tissue immediately
• Cough or sneeze/elbow into your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick (stay at least 3 feet away from people who are sick)
• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth—Germs often spread this way
• Get Your Flu Shot
Get VA’s latest updates on COVID-19