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Martinsburg VA Medical Center ready for possible COVID-19 “surge”

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Martinsburg VA Medical Center is preparing in case of a possible influx of COVID-19 patients.

Over the past three weeks, employees have been converting Veteran patient care rooms to help Veterans and community partners should a surge hit the Eastern Panhandle.

“We are trying to protect our Veterans as well as our health care personnel by following VA and CDC guidance and creating specific COVID-19 units,” said Ann M. Laake, MD, Infectious Diseases Physician and Chairperson of Infection, Prevention and Control Program.

There are currently 45 rooms designated to help COVID-19 patients. Each is a single patient room with negative pressure and its own bathroom that includes a shower.

“These units have created an increased number of airborne isolation rooms,” Dr. Lake said. “In addition to personal protective equipment (PPE), the units provide an additional layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our employees and other Veteran inpatients while we provide care for sick Veterans.”

A specific number of employees have been assigned to the units to ensure proper staffing levels. The employees are only allowed to work in that designated unit and will not go back to other job areas to avoid cross-contamination.

Martinsburg VA Medical Center officials remind those with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath to call first before going to a clinic, urgent care or emergency room.

“Calling first helps us protect you, medical staff, and other patients,” a news release reads.

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