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OKC VA launches "Wear it for Them!" face mask campaign in light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Oklahoma

The Shawnee News-Star
Wear it for them

Oklahoma has seen a spike in coronavirus cases and the numbers continue to grow each day. The best way to reduce and stop the spread is to wear a mask or face covering. But we have seen time and time again that many Oklahomans are not wearing them. The CDC, the US Surgeon General and other doctors are now urging the widespread use of masks and face coverings.

Scientists have made many recent discoveries about this new coronavirus, including:

It’s easy to spread this virus by just talking or breathing.

This coronavirus is highly contagious.

This virus has a long incubation period – up to 14 days – giving a wide window of opportunity for people to infect others before they even know they’re infected.

The CDC now says the public needs to “cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.” The CDC also said widespread mask usage could benefit everyone: “Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you,” the CDC said.

To support this initiative, the OKC VA launched a campaign called “Wear it for Them!”  to raise awareness on the importance of all of us doing our part to protect ourselves and each other. “Our message is that we are all in this together,” said Audrey Umhoefer, Public Affairs Officer.

VA has been a leader in patient safety for years and is becoming an enterprise-wide High Reliability Organization (HRO). Adopting high reliability principles more formally represents the next step for delivering the best health care to Veterans. Pursuing these principles nationwide is our pledge to empower staff and keep Veterans the safest they can be on our watch. “The Wear it for Them campaign helps VA staff to demonstrate and support our HRO Values,” said Umhoefer.

Veterans at Higher Risk

Did you know a person with COVID-19 can lack symptoms and transmit the virus to others and not even know it? This can be extremely dangerous for our most vulnerable population to include:

·         Older adults,

·         People with asthma,

·         At risk for severe illness,

·         People with HIV,

·         People with liver disease, and

·         People who are immunocompromised.

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·         Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.

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·         Those who choose not to wear a mask or face covering are putting their own lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk. The OKC VA is asking everyone to be a Patriot. Protect your fellow Oklahomans. Wear it for them!

Visitation Policy

The Oklahoma City VA is still limiting visitation at this time (with exception of end of life situations or a primary caretaker.)  Please do not bring children under the age of 18 with you. We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but your safety and the safety of others is at the forefront of everything we do. If you have a scheduled VA appointment, we are asking everyone to follow the guidance of the CDC that requires everyone who enters our facility to wear a mask or face covering and participate in a health screening prior to entering.  This will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable.  If you do not have a mask, we can provide you with one.  If there is a reason you are not able to wear a mask please let us know.

VA Health Screening. Upon entering the Oklahoma City VA facility, you will be asked to answer these health questions:

1.    Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?

2.    Are you waiting for COVID-19 test results?

3.    Do you have a fever? 

4.    Do you have new or worsening cough or shortness of breath?

5.    Do you have any cold or flu like symptoms?

6.    Do you have a new onset of diarrhea? 

7.    Do you have a new onset of headache, loss of taste or loss of smell?

How to achieve a Healthy Visit and prevent the spread!

·         Wear a mask or face coverings at all times..

·         Practice social distancing.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

·         Wash your hands frequently.

·         Leave the facility as soon as your visit is over.

If you are at high risk, we strongly encourage you to not visit the facility unless you have emergent needed care or treatment. Please contact our 24/7 Nurse Triage Line at 405-456-1000, option 3. We have set up a variety of health care options for you to stay connected for non-emergent care. We encourage Veterans to continue to use our virtual care options for most primary care and mental health services. Learn more at connectedcare.va.gov/.