DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Friday all VA employees were greeted at the guard gate by coronavirus screeners where they had to pass a health check before they could get in the building.
According to an internal memo sent to VA employees, to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, all employees will be screened daily for symptoms. The employees are asked a series of questions and their temperature is checked. If their temperature is greater or equal to 100 degrees they are screened further, if the employee is suspected of having the virus they will be sent home.
According to that same document, the VA is currently investigating 89 coronavirus cases, 17 have been positively confirmed and three of those patients are being housed in one of the VA’s COVID-19 treatment units.
But the number of cases under investigation has more than doubled this week. The interoffice VA employee memo released Monday shows there were 42 VA coronavirus patients under investigation and only seven had tested positive. But neither memo gave details on if the cases were VA employees, veterans visiting the facility, or their family members.
Earlier this week VA announced it was screening all visitors for the virus and that they had closed the Veterans Benefit Administration Offices to the public. The hospital on the other hand says, it will remain open, but one veteran we spoke to says specific departments have not allowed them in.
"The one the emergency room wanted to send me to was Pulmonary, and they were not testing at the moment. So they couldn't give me the test for the lung capacity. But, if I need to get to a private doctor before VA is fully opened again then there is a procedure for it," said veteran John Walters.
That procedure is called a Fee Base application, veterans wanting to see outside doctors while their department isn’t accepting in-person appointments, can fill that out to get approve to been seen outside the VA. But VA officials are asking veterans to take advantage of their telehealth system and video chat with a doctor.