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4 employees, 14 patients at West Palm Beach VA Medical Center test positive for coronavirus

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 16:25:08-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Four employees at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirm.

A spokesperson wouldn't provide any additional details about the conditions of those patients.

In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 14 veteran patients at the West Palm Beach hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus | We're Open South Florida

The VA Medical Center has set up a tent system to triage patients who are showing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus.

The hospital has also increased the number of medical, surgical, and ICU beds by more than 50 percent, a spokesperson said.

3,700 veteran patients at VA medical facilities around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, the Veterans Affairs Department said.

That's why telehealth options are an essential tool to keep veterans out of hospitals if they don't need urgent care.

The chief of virtual care for VA medical centers across Florida is reminding veterans about the My HealtheVet online portal and the VA Video Connect app.

Both tools give veterans the ability to manage their care with online prescription refills, appointments, lab and test results, radiology reports, and X-rays.

The VA Department rolled out its virtual care program last summer, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the demand has grown exponentially.

"We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in the call volume that we’ve had," said Dr. Veronica Sikka, Chief of Virtual Care for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "We used to see 20 patients, now we’re seeing 70 to 80 patients a day. Our calendars fill up, but if we have more slots available we can see more patients and we’re working to see that capacity."

For more information about My HealtheVet, click here.