V.A. COVID-19 cases remain low among veterans but numbers are rising

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Amid the alarming increase in Coronavirus cases, The G.V. Sonny Montgomery Jackson V.A. Hospital is reporting fewer cases than other facilities, but numbers are rising.

The hospital for Mississippi's veterans is waging a battle and in need of front line health care workers.

An enclosed fence at the Jackson V.A. contains a hospital ward on the grounds especially for veterans with COVID-19.

"That tent is our last resort due to the temperature, the heat," said Jackson V.A. Medical Center Director Dr. David Walker.

The facility head said COVID-19 cases among veterans is a third lower than in the local area. This has kept them from having to utilize the 20 bed tent hospital for COVID patient overflow.

The recent surge in cases is having an impact.

"Each 24 hours we are seeing what we would say is a single digit increase in cases," said Walker. "So we might have one or two or might have three or four each day that test positive".

Ten veterans are currently hospitalized in two COVID-19 units inside the facility.

Four veterans are being treated in community hospitals.

To date the VA has treated 214 Coronavirus cases.

22 veterans have died, and 114 have recovered.

“The capacity of the system is being pushed. We’ve been able to have enough capacity so far,” said Walker. “We don’t want our entire medical system to fail, and that’s the risk that we’re having.”

Only urgent and emergency procedures are being performed with the hospital seeing only 550 patients daily, 30 percent of their usual level.

According to Dr. Walker the hospital is in need of nurses and Monday held a job fair on Facebook to try to fill the void.

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