March 17, 2020

In the best interest of public health and safety, the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) is temporarily closing state and county veteran service offices beginning March 18 to April 6 as a precautionary measure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The ADVA will resume full veteran services when the current national and state of emergencies in response to the COVID-19 crisis are lifted.

Information regarding ADVA’s response to the COVID-19 crisis is posted to the department’s website at www.va.alabama.gov.

If you should need emergency assistance, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000. Should you have any additional questions or concerns for Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, please call 334-353-9405 or you may email us at: adva@va.alabama.gov .

 


March 13, 2020

As our state and country prepare for the possible spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), we would like to spend a few moments to explain our concern for our employees and clients, as well as discuss the protective actions we are taking to help ensure the safety and health of both groups.

First and foremost, the health and well-being of our employees and the veterans we serve is our number one priority, always.

While the risk remains low, the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) is prepared for the possibility of COVID-19 cases in the state and remains vigilant in taking the proper precautions.

The ADVA is monitoring state and national reports concerning the impact COVID-19 is having on the general population and has implemented measures for protecting employees as well as the residents of Alabama’s state veterans homes.

ADVA staff are following current guidance as provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specific to COVID-19 prevention in the county veterans service offices, administrative areas, and long-term care facilities. We are also following advice from Governor Ivey’s Coronavirus Task Force, The White House, and a host of other organizations providing valuable guidance.

ADVA employees are urged to mitigate the risk of coronavirus by taking the following precautions:

  • Notify their department head, supervisor and human resource officer immediately if they have recently traveled in areas affected by the coronavirus.
  • Stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms of a cold or flu and avoid contact with individuals who exhibit symptoms.
  • Wash hands with soap and hot water or hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
  • Practice common sense in traveling to areas within the U.S. that have known cases of coronavirus.

The Alabama state veterans homes are actively involved with all local, state and federal agencies in coordinated efforts to protect veterans, families and staff from exposure to COVID 19.  Through increased screening, communication and visitation controls, ADVA is actively responding to the updated guidance provided from the CDC, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and State agencies as the department works to better protect everyone at the state veterans homes.  The homes’ administrators are remaining in close contact with suppliers to ensure needed supplies and materials are available.

The Alabama state veterans homes are already taking the following precautionary measures to protect both employees and residents:

  • Nursing staff at the four state veterans homes (located in Huntsville, Pell City, Alexander City, and Bay Minette) are taking preventive measures to mitigate the risk of the coronavirus following the guidance of CDC, VA and ADPH.
  • Families and care workers were contacted to ensure they are aware of their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 into the veterans homes. Signs were posted at the multiple points in the building and all entrances. Communication will be on-going to keep everyone updated to any changes.
  • Routine visits and work by volunteers have been temporarily halted at the four State Veterans Homes. At present, visitation has been restricted to medically-necessary visits by outside personnel and/or visits by family members to terminally ill residents in their final days. Even in those two limited categories of visitations, all visitors will be carefully screened via written questionnaires and, if necessary, relevant physical examinations to ensure there is no risk of infecting residents.
  • All employees, visitors, and contractors are individually screened upon entry to the building to limit the chance of introducing the virus inside the state veterans homes. Anyone who has a sore throat, cough, fever, new shortness of breath or fever may not be allowed to enter without further medical evaluation clearance. Anyone who has travelled internationally in the last 14 days will not be allowed entrance.

The ADVA is already following Governor Ivey’s COVID-19 Preparations Protocol, monitoring CDC reports of the coronavirus crisis, and continuing to update protocol procedures as new guidance becomes available. We are fully prepared to implement those new protocols–if necessary–on very short notice.

To assist you with information, we have established an prominent link on the ADVA website homepage (https://va.alabama.gov/) that will update you on the protective measures that we are taking as an agency, as well as external guidance on the entire coronavirus topic.


Informational Links