Indianapolis -- There's a big tent set up in the parking lot of the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. It's big enough to drive through, and that's exactly what it's intended for.
It's all part of the hospital's COVID-19 screening and treatment plan.
According to spokesperson Angela Taylor, the hospital is taking samples on-site and sending them to the Indiana State Department of Health and Labcorp.
But what about the drive-through tent? "In certain situations, a VA provider can direct a Veteran patient to proceed to car-based screening to avoid having to enter the medical center for testing," said Taylor. "It is not open to anyone that drives up, you have to be a VA patient and have a VA provider consult. It helps us both to achieve social distancing goals for the Veterans and get them the care they have earned."
Similar to other hospitals, those who enter the Indianapolis facility, just west of downtown, will be pre-screened, This can take some time, so patients are being asked to allow some extra time when arriving for their appointments.
The screening consists of three questions:
- Do you have a fever or worsening cough or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms?
- Have you or a close contact traveled to an area with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days of symptom onset?
- Have you been in close contact with someone, including health care workers, confirmed to have COVID-19?
"Per CDC guidance and VA protocols, individuals known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others," Taylor said.
Veterans and staff are encouraged to take everyday preventive actions to avoid being exposed to the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick or becoming sick.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- If you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms, call the VA before going to the facility.
Additionally, information about the safeguards put in place to protect nursing home and spinal cord injury patients is here: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5400 [va.gov]
More information for Veterans is here: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/72615/vas-recommendations-help-slow-covid-19-virus/ [blogs.va.gov]