Utah Dept. of Veterans & Military Affairs shares COVID-19 protective measures

Photo courtesy: Intermountain Healthcare

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 11, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs will follow novel coronavirus screening protocols for the department’s facilities, effective immediately, officials said Wednesday.

“In partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Avalon Healthcare, the VA has implemented a comprehensive plan in place to protect the health of everyone who visits or works at VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System facilities, including VA community-based outpatient clinics across the state,” said a news release from the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs.

“This includes access to the UDVMA offices in Building 550 and the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home, both of which are located on the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center Campus.”

To access any UDVMA or VA facility at the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center Campus, individuals must enter using either the gate off Foothill next to the parking garage or the gate located at Wahlen Way on Foothill Drive, the news release said. The parking garage gate will be open during clinical hours 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, while the Wahlen Way gate will be open 24/7. Upon arrival at either entrance, individuals will undergo proactive screening measures for signs of respiratory illness and exposure to COVID-19.

“Veterans are asked not to bring anyone to VA appointments unless it is medically necessary,” the news release said “Additionally, no visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed on campus, and VA inpatients are limited to two visitors at any given time.”

Furthermore, all UDVMA Veterans Nursing Homes, including the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home, George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, Mervyn Sharp Bennion Central Utah Veterans Home and Southern Utah Veterans Home, have implemented additional precautionary coronavirus screening protocols and preventive measures. ­

“To be clear, Avalon Healthcare and VA providers have not encountered anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” the news release said. “These are precautionary measures and part of mitigation steps being taken by UDVMA partners. Individuals are encouraged to arrive early for any appointments and to limit the number of people they bring to the VA Medical Campus or any Veterans Homes. All COVID-19 protocol measures will be in place until further notice.”

Individuals are asked to not come to a VA medical facility or UDVMA facility if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. VA patients with these symptoms are asked to call 801-584-2575.

Individuals with appointments with UDVMA veteran service officers are asked to contact the department at 801-584-2575 to reschedule or meet virtually for claims assistance if necessary.

All Utah Veterans Nursing Home visitors and vendors are also required to check-in at the front desk for screening.

UDVMA will continue to work with its partners and coordinate with the Utah COVID-19 Task Force regarding preventing the spread of novel coronavirus, the news release said. More information on efforts regarding Utah’s veteran and military communities will be shared as available.

You can help stop the spread of novel coronavirus through simple prevention steps, including washing your hands thoroughly, disinfecting shared surfaces and covering your cough. If you have symptoms that match coronavirus, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your clinician via telephone or telemedicine.

State-wide information regarding the novel coronavirus can be found via the Utah COVID-19 Task Force website here.


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