Veterans Affairs officials urging all vets and family members to get vaccinated against coronavirus as cases begin to surge again across the country.
“[There is] a growing crisis with the increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19, specifically from the Delta variant. More than 97 percent of hospitalized patients with COVID are not vaccinated”. This was a warning from Assistant Under Secretary for Health Carolyn Clancy to lawmakers during a recent meeting on veterans.
“Local indoor mask mandates are occurring again primarily because the disease is spreading among those who are not yet vaccinated. Signs that we’re seeing mirror prior surges, in a warning of what’s ahead.”
Active cases of coronavirus across the VA health care system topped 3,300 on Thursday morning, their highest level since early May. That mark is up 121 percent in the last month alone.
That includes a sharp rise in cases among VA employees. In June, VA officials reported 192 new cases of the virus among staffers. So far in July, there have been 390 new employee infections.
About 300,000 VA staffers have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, roughly 70 percent of the department’s employee total. Earlier this month, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the department is looking into mandating vaccines for front-line health care workers, but last week he said no decision has been made on the move yet.
Department officials also have not announced any decisions to reinstate restrictions at VA facilities, such as limiting non-emergency appointments. McDonough has said he hopes to fully reopen all VA sites by this fall, but the resurgence in virus numbers could complicate those efforts. (continue reading)