Veterans Affairs department reports first coronavirus death

National News

Washington (CNN) — The Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed its first coronavirus-related death and reported an increase in the number of confirmed or presumed positive cases from 16 to 30.

The patient died two days ago at a facility in Portland, Oregon, according to a VA spokesperson.

“A Veteran patient in their 70s died March 14 at VA Portland Health Care System due to complications from Coronavirus (COVID-19). This case was previously reported as a presumptive positive in an earlier case count,” Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Christina Mandreucci told CNN.

Older veterans are among the most vulnerable to infection and the VA has taken some steps to protect that demographic of patients. On March 10, more than 134 nursing homes operated by the VA adopted a “no visitors” policy in an effort to lower the risk of exposure to the coronavirus among older veterans.

Earlier this month, the VA confirmed the first case in its system. That veteran is currently being treated for coronavirus at a VA facility in Palo Alto, California.

Since then, the number of confirmed or presumed positive cases has increased to 30 nationwide.
As of Friday, the VA said it has administered 140 total tests, up from 70 just two days prior, but that number is likely to increase significantly.

The VA has 3,000 test kits available, 1,000 of which were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be used first. An additional 2,000 VA-developed tests will only be used if necessary, Mandreucci told CNN.

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