VA increases capacity by 4,000 beds to combat COVID-19
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced April 1, that it has successfully increased its ICU and Medical/Surgical bed capacity by over 4,000 across the nation. These beds, along with the staff, equipment, and personal protective equipment required to operate them, are critical to the treatment of Veterans and civilians infected with COVID-19. The VA historically had approximately 1,000 ICU beds and 6,000 Medical/Surgical beds, and now has more than 2,300 and 8,500 respectively.
“Our frontline medical personnel have been working tirelessly around the clock to prepare for an influx of Veterans infected with COVID-19, and we are now treating hundreds of cases.” said VA Secretary Robert Wilke. “Simultaneously, we have been working to enhance as many beds as possible to be equipped with what is necessary to care for those infected, both Veterans and non-Veterans if need be.”
VA is part of the National Disaster Medical System, which positions it as a backstop to the nation’s private medical facilities when States have exhausted their capacity to provide care. At this time, VA has been assigned two such missions in New York and New Jersey.
States may request assistance from the Federal Government through their local Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Regional Emergency Coordinator (REC), as part of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Counties, cities, and other municipalities should route all requests for Federal support through their respective states. VA cannot receive direct requests for assistance from state and local governments.
VA continues to strongly encourage Veterans, staff members, and their families to take everyday precautions to protect against respiratory illnesses caused by COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold, and to follow the guidance of their local and state healthcare and emergency management officials.
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