Wilkie discusses VA's coronavirus response, offers advice to veterans

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THE WHITE HOUSE (Gray DC) -- Each day, we're learning more about what the different federal agencies are doing to try to protect Americans from the coronavirus.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie discussed a number of steps the VA has taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Source: Gray DC)

On Wednesday, the Gray Television Washington News Bureau caught up with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie at the White House.

Wilkie says the VA is "setting the pace" when it comes to the coronavirus response. With 170 VA hospitals and 135 the nursing facilities across the country, that's no small feat.

Wilkie said, "We have the advantage of being a government institution, and we can implement reforms, we can implement procedures."

Those reforms and procedures include:

-limiting access to visitors at VA facilities
-limiting dental surgeries
-cutting back routine appointments by 1/3
-canceling elective surgeries

Wilkie says doing this will open more beds to treat veterans who test positive for coronavirus.

But what should veterans do if they feel sick? Follow the guideline posted on the VA website: call your VA medical center first!

"We don't want people who don't feel well coming to see us. We want them to tell us how they feel. We want them to give us information, and then we can determine what the next step is," explained Wilkie.

Wilkie says veterans can also contact the VA through the MyHealthevet website. In many cases, doctors can utilize telehealth.

Moral of the story, Wilkie says, "Tell us what you need. Tell us if you have a comrade or friend who needs our help."

Wilkie also says the VA is in the midst of a massive text messaging campaign to communicate the latest to veterans by text.

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