WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin sent a letter to the VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, pressing him on the VA’s plans and preparations for the coronavirus outbreak that will affect many veterans in the area.
Manchin explained in a statement that the safety and well being of every West Virginian must remain a top priority. He said that veterans are, “uniquely vulnerable,” to the threat.
Our more than 140,000 Veterans are older and have higher levels of pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease that make them especially susceptible to developing a severe illness if they become infected with the virus. I am also concerned about the dedicated Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) staff on the front lines of the the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response. I fear that the VA is not fully prepared, equipped, or staffed to respond to the coming crisis in West Virginia.Senator Manchin
Senator Manchin asked four essential questions to better explain the level of preparedness of VA facilities in West Virginia.
- What actions is the VA taking to quickly equip and train staff at VA facilities in West Virginia to prevent the spread of the virus?
- Do West Virginia VA facilities have a sufficient supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, face shields, and masks for the COVID-19 response?
- How many Veterans can West Virginia VA facilities currently test for COVID-19? What actions is the VA taking to ramp up testing capacity for every VAMC and CBOC in West Virginia?
- How many respirators and ventilators do West Virginia VA facilities have to treat Veterans severely affected by COVID-19? What are you doing to supply such equipment to West Virginia VA facilities for a surge of COVID-19 patients?