Schatz: VA Health Team Mobilized, Heading To Hilo As Early As Today
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has mobilized a team of infection control experts, nurses and other health care professionals to provide immediate support and help contain a COVID-19 outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.
The move comes just days after US Senator Brian Schatz made an urgent request to the VA following rising COVID-19 cases and deaths at the Hilo facility.
“More help is on the way,” said Senator Schatz. “This medical team will be a big help in containing the outbreak happening on the Big Island. My staff and I will continue working with the VA and state and local officials to make sure we are utilizing all the federal help that’s available.”
Details of the VA mission follows:
- VA Subject Matter Experts will conduct an onsite assessment in the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo for infection control issues.
- The purpose is to formulate recommendations for interventions, processes, and procedures to address an outbreak of COVID-19.
- The VA team is expected to consist of: an infectious disease physician, a facilities engineer who understands environmental air flow and AC systems, an infectious disease nurse specialist with expertise in running COVID-19 units, a safety officer, an industrial hygienist, and a nurse manager.
The state Department of Health reports that it is aware of six additional deaths associated with COVID-19 at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home in Hilo; however, it is awaiting medical records from the facility as part of its official confirmation and documentation process.
To date, the state has confirmed three COVID-19 deaths in Hawai‘i County. Meantime, the Hilo Medical Center is reporting a total of 10 deaths, all at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home.