ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud VA Health Care System is preparing for the possibility of their patients having COVID-19. However, Dr. Brent Thelen says so far they have not had any positive cases among their patients.

He says if -- or when -- that time comes they'll do everything they can to treat those patients up to the point that they have to be hospitalized. He says they would then have to be taken to another VA facility.

Our regional VA system has the opportunity to use Minneapolis, Fargo, and Sioux Falls if we have to go to that point.

Thelen says they are not a traditional hospital with an Intensive Care Unit or Emergency Room, they are more of a medical center.

Our function is a community living facility, so a nursing home and a residential rehab treatment program.

We've been hearing a lot about the ongoing need for more personal protective equipment for our healthcare workers. But, Thelen says so far they've been able to meet the demand for their staff.

The benefit that we have as a whole organization is that we are able to share resources, and so that allows us to be able to borrow from different facilities like Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, and Fargo.

Thelen says the VA continues to encourage veterans to call first before they come in to the facility. He says preventative measures have been in place for several weeks already which includes asking patients a series of screening questions when they arrive.

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System covers all of central Minnesota with outreach clinics in Alexandria, Brainerd, and Montevideo.

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