Manchester VA calls for all to act and prevent the spread of COVID-19

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Manchester’s VA Medical Center. File Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH  Manchester VA’s Incident Command Center was activated on March 2, 2020, in response to COVID-19.  The initial response included limited medical center access entry points; instituting screening; and restricting visitors in our Community Living Center (CLC) [nursing home].  Additional steps to limit further spread of the virus are on-going and taken in collaboration with the medical center workforce as well as across local, state and national agencies to brace for a surge in health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The situation is evolving, and we are changing the way we do business to prevent the spread of the virus and support wellness for all,” said Kevin Forrest, Interim Director, Manchester VA Medical Center.  “Manchester VA is now taking steps to provide safe and high-quality care based on an anticipated worst-case scenario.  One important step requires community assistance as we ask that if you are not a medical center employee or Veteran with a scheduled appointment you stay home.  This action is being taken out of necessity and not an abundance of caution, and we are asking for your help.”

Actions being taken and what can be expected:

  • If you have traveled in the past month, have fever and cough symptoms, or have had contact with anyone confirmed positive for COVID-19, please call the Call Center at 800-892-8384 ext. 3199 BEFORE coming to Urgent Care.
  • Anyone reporting to the medical center should anticipate seeing temporary structures at the front of our facility.  These structures will support enhanced screening for all who wish to enter the hospital.  This action is being taken to avoid unnecessary exposure for patients and staff;
  • Access to the medical center is restricted to allow only Veterans with an appointment and/or essential/safety clinical needs as well as essential staff;
  • Crisis Line:  If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one you can connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Call  1-800-273-8255 and Press 1; Text 838255 or Chat online.  There is  Support for deaf and hard of hearing;
  • Pharmacy:  Veterans plan to order your prescriptions on-line where possible.  To order your prescriptions only, please visit My HealtheVet where you can register to manage your VA prescription refills. If you need assistance getting established on My HealtheVet contact the administrator at:  800-892-8384 x 2291;
  • Elective procedures scheduled over the next 30 days are postponed and patients with appointments are being contacted;
  • Wherever possible routine care and group care will be conducted via virtual visits (telemedicine).  Any changes to appointments will be communicated to the Veteran prior to their scheduled activity;
  • The Community Living Center (CLC) [nursing home] is operating under further restricted access.  For example, all staff screening includes temperature assessment, food service workers will deliver meals outside the closed CLC unit where essential staff will collect meals and deliver them directly to the Veterans in our care.  Any access to the CLC other than essential staff will be assessed on a case-by-case basis;
  • Veterans are asked to contact the Manchester VA Call Center 800-892-8384 x 3199 with health questions.  Veterans are asked for patience as we are expecting longer response times; and
  • As a reminder, Manchester VA does not have an Emergency Room.  If you are experiencing a medical emergency contact your local ER for instructions or call 911.

What you can do:

  • Wash your hands and keep them away from your face;
  • Follow CDC guidance to plan and prepare at home;
  • If you are not an employee or Veteran with a scheduled appointment, stay home;
  • This situation continues to evolve.  Expect change when you visit the medical center, and call before you come 1-800-892-8384 x 3199;
  • If you have a cough, shortness of breath, or fever stay home and contact your healthcare team 800-892-8384 x 3199.  If your symptoms worsen, call your local Emergency Room for guidance or dial 911;
  • If you have an appointment arrive early in anticipation of screening; and
  • While on campus and in everyday activity practice social distancing – keep your distance from others and do not hug or shake hands.

On behalf of the Manchester VA Medical Center, thank you in advance for helping keep everyone safe as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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