VA Support Coming to Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home

September 11, 2020, 8:45 AM HST (Updated September 11, 2020, 8:34 AM)
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The US Department of Veterans Affairs is sending a health team to the VA home in Hilo where a COVID-19 outbreak has infected nearly all residents and killed 10.

US Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced that the (VA) 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. They are headed to Hilo as early as today.

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VA support comes after Schatz made an urgent request on Sept. 6 for federal intervention into the outbreak.

“More help is on the way,” Schatz said. “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 airflow 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.

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