VA: Employees may have contracted COVID-19 from community spread

coronavirus

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Last week, the I-Team broke the story that 11 employees of the Southern Nevada VA Healthcare System tested positive for COVID-19. We’ve since learned how those employees may have contracted the virus.

A spokesman for the VA said so far, no other employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

As we reported, two employees were hospitalized and nine are receiving medical attention at home. The spokesman said several of the positive employees have jobs where they are not involved in direct patient care.

A preliminary investigation connected the positive cases to community spread. This means employees caught it outside the facility, or they were exposed to someone inside the facility who had the virus other than a patient.

We have heard concerns from employees who want to speak up but don’t want to lose their jobs. The I-Team asked Congresswoman Dina Titus, who is heavily involved in veterans’ issues, about this.

Titus replied, “Well I’ve always been a very strong supporter of whistleblowers and whistleblower protection.  If you see something that is not right, it’s an obligation to report it and then you will be protected under the law.  I would point out that 20-billion dollars has gone to the VA to be sure that they are able to enforce provisions for people who are at the hospital and have the equipment they need.  That was part of the last CARES package.”

Changes have been made at the VA, including virtual care options to cut down on patient visits.

Additional measure are some employees working from home and screening at vehicle entrances of the medical center and at all sites of care.

The spokesman said the screening is what helped identify the positive employees.

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