202003-01-23 - Columbia VA Health Care System
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Columbia VA Health Care System



March 9, 2020

Columbia VA Limits Entrances &
Screening Visitors to Protect Against COVID-19 Coronavirus


COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Columbia VA Health Care System has not received any patients who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

“Our team is taking every precaution to protect our patients, our caregivers, and our community. We have implemented special precautions to inhibit any spread of this virus should we have a Veteran present with an active case of coronavirus,” said David Omura, Columbia VA HCS Director/CEO.

To protect our patients, guests, and caregivers, effective Monday, March 9, the Columbia VA HCS will be limiting public entrances to only the Building 100 main entrance from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Building 106 main entrance from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Building 100A main entrance 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Buildings 103 &103A from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Emergency Department entrance will be open 24 hours. When visitors or patients arrive Columbia VA HCS, they should utilize those entrances. Greeters will be screening at those entrances with a list of basic questions to help ensure that individuals who might spread the virus get the care they need while not exposing patients, staff, and other guests.

The screening consists of three questions:

  1. Do you have a fever? Do you have worsening cough or flu-like symptoms?
  2. Have you traveled to China, Japan, Italy, Iran, or South Korea in the last 14 days?
  3. Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have the coronavirus disease?

Veterans who are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath should call the Telephone Advice Program (TAP) at (803) 647-5829 or Toll Free at (888) 651-2683 before visiting the medical center or clinic. In addition to calling first, consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. Visitors, who do not feel well are encouraged to please postpone their visit.

“For many people, COVID-19 will present very similarly to the flu, and they will recover safely at home with rest and fluids,” said Bernard DeKoning, the Columbia VA Chief of Staff. “The best protection right now is hand washing, covering your cough, and avoiding large groups of people.”



About Columbia VA Health Care System:

The VA Southeast Network (VISN 7) is one of the fastest-growing regions across the nation serving 1.2 million Veterans in 244 counties in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina; providing oversight for eight major medical facilities located in Atlanta, Augusta, Dublin, Birmingham, Central Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Charleston, and Columbia. In the last year, the network provided over 7.6 million outpatient appointments and 33,078 hospital admissions.For more information about Columbia VA Health Care System, visit: https://www.columbiasc.va.gov/index.asp. For Coronavirus updates visit https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/index.asp.