MONROE, LA (03/13/20)– The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs has officially taken action in all its veteran homes, including the one in Monroe. V.A. officials say in a statement that residents will not be taken out of the facility for group activities for the next 30 days and high discourage residents from leaving the facility.
At this time, there are no presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in any of the state-run veterans’ homes. Those homes are; Louisiana Veterans Home in Jackson, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve, Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Jennings, Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Bossier, Northeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Monroe.
These veterans fought for our freedom, but now the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs is fighting for their safety and health.
“Our veterans served our country, they are our heroes and they are already medically compromised and a lot of times it is respiratory issues. Anything like this could be acting on their immune system, so we really want to make sure we don’t introduce something to them that could be detrimental to their health,” said Marquita Mihalik, NELA Veterans Home, Administrator.
As of March 12th, the V.A. closed it’s doors to visitors in all five of its state-run veteran homes due to the coronavirus.
“In any kind of health crisis such as this is going to be very stressful,” said Mihalik.
While stress may be high, V.A. officials say the number one priority is keeping our veterans safe. Starting with a no visitors policy for locals and an extensive screening at the door for medical staff and vendors who come in. That screening process includes:
Asking about travel and health, known contact with someone who has COVID-19, Taking their tempter daily, Not allowing handshakes or hugs, and washing their hands periodically.
“Because our staff then interacts with the residents, we want to make sure that we are taking care o all precautions and make sure they are not getting infected,” said Mihalik.
V.A. officials say family members are thankful for the actions that are being taken. While it’s sad they can’t visit every day to see their loved ones, the staff has found other ways to communicate.
“Our staff is going to be doing some facetime, skype, Facebook post, making phone calls to families with loved ones so they can have that interaction,” said Mihalik.
V.A. officials say they will continue to brief daily, possibly more than once daily, as needed.