MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) reports that one staff member of an Alabama state veterans home has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The staff member, employed at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City, was not allowed to enter the home after exhibiting a slightly elevated temperature upon reporting to the home’s screening station at the entrance to the facility on March 26. In addition, the employee was referred for further testing by an external facility, which determined that the employee was positive for the virus. The staff member had not entered the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home since March 23.
The home’s health care provider, Health Management Resources (HMR), said the employee is doing well and should make a full recovery. All persons that may have been in contact with the employee have been notified and are being appropriately monitored.
On March 13, the ADVA announced a change to its visitation policy at the state’s four veterans homes as a precautionary measure to the coronavirus. The policy restricts routine visitations by non-employees, to include work conducted by volunteers.
The state veterans homes require all staff to be screened before they begin their shift and residents are screened multiple times daily. Entry into the homes by anyone other than employees is restricted to medically-necessary visits by outside healthcare personnel and/or visits by family members to terminally ill residents in their final days.
“We are taking every precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of our veterans and employees. All of the Alabama state veterans homes are closely following the CDC guidelines for screening symptoms of COVID-19 and taking immediate action. Our meticulous HMR staff, our veterans, and supportive families are all in this together and we look forward to the successful completion of this fight for those who fought for us,” said ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis. “The fact that our screening procedures identified this particular staff member before entry into the facility is hopefully a testament to the effectiveness of our precautionary steps.”
ADVA manages four veterans homes in Alexander City, Bay Minette, Huntsville and Pell City with a population of more than 700 veterans.
Information about ADVA’s veterans homes visitation policy and other precautionary measures the department is taking in its response to the COVID-19 crisis is posted to the department’s website at www.va.alabama.gov.