WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened 20 beds (15 acute care and 5 intensive care) at its East Orange, NJ Medical Center, April 1, to non-Veteran, critical and non-critical COVID-19 patients to help assist the Northern New Jersey region in its COVID-19 response efforts.
The transfer of non-Veteran, critical and non-critical COVID-19 patients from the community to the VA New Jersey Health Care System will begin immediately.
VA’s decision comes in response to a request the department received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of New Jersey. VA’s decision was made after determining this action would not negatively impact Veteran care.
“VA is proud to assist the state of New Jersey in the fight against this pandemic while continuing its primary mission of caring for our nation’s Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
States may request assistance from the federal government through their local Department of Health and Human Services’ regional emergency coordinator or REC as part of FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. Counties, cities and other municipalities should route all requests for federal support through their respective states.
VA recently released its COVID-19 response guide to the public for other medical systems to review and learn from and is working closely with FEMA and other federal agencies as part of the nation’s response.
VA continues to encourage Veterans, staff members, and their families to take everyday precautions to protect against respiratory illnesses caused by COVID-19, the flu and the common cold, and to follow the guidance of their local and state healthcare and emergency management officials.