VA Bedford Healthcare System
May 11, 2020: COVID operational update
By Kat Bailey, Bedford VA Medical Center Public Affairs
Monday, May 11, 2020BEDFORD, Mass. -- Bedford VA Medical Center is hopeful the COVID-19 surge has peaked as fewer new COVID-positive cases were reported this past week and more Veterans continue to recover.
We continue to focus on recovery operations and the future. On May 6, 2020, the first four resident patients of the Community Living Centers were designated as "clinically resolved" from their previous COVID-19 positive diagnosis.
Today, four more inpatient Veterans who previously tested positive for a COVID-19 diagnosis have "recovered" and been transferred to one of the two newly designated recovery care units at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital here.
Everyone loves parade
The Bedford VAMC Police Department, along with 48 other local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and first responders held a “Salute to Service” rolling rally Friday on the hospital grounds to show support and appreciation to the clinical and non-clinical staff caring for Veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The live recording is available on Bedford VAMC’s Facebook page and Twitter has photos shared by local media that covered the event. The community support was a massive morale boost to the staff.
Mandatory face coverings
Policies and procedures continue to change in response to the latest information on COVID-19. Effective May 8, 2020, all people entering Bedford VAMC facilities must wear face coverings or face masks.
Staff can wear the facemask they receive for the week or they can wear their own. All Veterans and visitors will be given a facemask by the screeners if they do not already have one. Veterans should wear masks when they come to appointments. Inpatients and residents should also wear face coverings if they can be tolerated.
Face coverings are normally cloth and are not considered personal protective equipment. The face covering must cover the mouth and nose, fit snugly, allow for breathing without restriction, and be laundered daily.
3D printed testing swabs
The Veterans Health Administration continues to drive innovation which allowed Bedford VAMC to receive 1,000 3D printed swabs ordered by the New England Veterans Integrated Service Network. VA Boston will also send Bedford 250 3D printed swabs each week, using medical grade 3D printers and a swab design from Northwell and USF Healthcare.
The consistent supply of swabs lets Bedford VAMC expand its testing capabilities to Veterans who live in Bedford Green, a permanent supportive housing community for Veterans age 55 and older, located on the grounds of the ENRM Veterans Hospital and managed by a commercial property agency.
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and VHA for congregational and residential housing programs, testing is necessary for Bedford VAMC to determine courses of action for treatment and mitigation.
COVID-19 positive data as of today are 62 inpatient Veterans (-11 from last report), 26 (-2) outpatient Veterans and 36 employees (57 have returned to work) currently positive.
There have been 18 (+7) deaths related to COVID-19 at Bedford VAMC plus eight COVID-related deaths of Bedford patients at other medical locations (i.e. West Roxbury, VA Boston, Lahey Hospital, etc.). Two Veterans also died in home based primary care, one of whom was reported in last week’s “other medical locations” count.
Bedford VAMC’s operating status is continually updated at https://www.bedford.va.gov/emergency/index.asp. For more information about the Coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.