As the country is dealing with the outbreak of the COVID-19, veterans may want information specific to the Veterans Administration (VA) and their care. The following are some things to know right now.

What is the VA Doing?

According to the VA, they are implementing what they describe as an aggressive public health response. They are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners during the outbreak and they are administered COVID-19 tests nationwide.

If you are a veteran and you are experiencing cough, fever, or shortness of breath, then you should contact your local VA facility. It is strongly urged that you call before you visit a VA.

Another option available to veterans is to sign up or sign into My HealtheVet to send a secure message to the VA. There are also tele-health options so that you can explain your condition and receive prompt information from your care provider.

If you do go to a health center, you will be screened before you can enter for flu-like symptoms. If you don’t feel well, the VA is asking you to postpone visiting facilities.

Protecting yourself

According to the CDC, the belief is that symptoms of COVID-19 start to appear two to 14 days after exposure. The following are the current recommendations from the VA to protect yourself and avoid exposing others.

- Learn to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

- Avoid touching your face including your eyes, nose and mouth without washing your hands.

- Stay home if you’re sick or feel like you’re becoming sick.

- Avoid people who show signs of being sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissues and throw the tissue away.

- Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces.

It’s recommended that you get a flu shot, not because it’s a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine, but to reduce the overload of patients who have flu at the same time this out break is going on and to keep yourself from getting the flu.

Stay home and don’t go out unless absolutely necessary. If we all work together we can stop the spread of COVID-19. The Veterans Service Office is closed to walk-ins and office visits for the time being. If you need assistance, please call the office at 402-443-8137. You will receive the answering machine however, if you leave your name and phone number, I will be able to call you back.

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