Orlando VA Healthcare System
Prepare for Your Visit
Prepare for a visit: Everyone entering our facilities is screened, and visitors are limited. Face coverings are mandatory. Please contact us first before going to any of our locations. For some needs, you may be able to get care at home by phone or video.
Importance of Wearing a Mask
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to recommend all individuals wear masks in public or when around people who don’t live in the same household to stop the spread of COVID-19. VA requires masks to be worn while on our campuses and in our facilities.
This is especially true for people with lung diseases like asthma, emphysema and COPD because they may be at greater risk of severe complications and even death from COVID-19.
The American Lung Association, among others, indicate wearing a mask does not significantly affect oxygen or carbon dioxide levels.
Individuals who have trouble tolerating a mask due to claustrophobia or anxiety can lessen these feelings by progressively wearing the mask for longer periods of time to adjust. They can also try different kinds of masks to find one that fits better or is more comfortable. Patients can speak with their health care provider about other options that may be available but still provide an acceptable level protection. It is important to note that masks with breathing valves do not offer protection but rather allow for the spread of the virus. If patients arrive on campus with this type of mask, they will be required to wear a VA issued one.
Your Safe Care is Our Mission
If you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 9-1-1 or visit an emergency room closest to you.
What to do if you think you have COVID-19
If you are sick or have symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center is the best, first contact before visiting our facilities. Staff are available 24/7 for nurse advice and triage, VA Video Connect, VA Health Chat and more. Contact us at: 1-877-741-3400.
Testing for COVID-19
Currently, VA is testing patients and employees who are symptomatic as well as those who are scheduled for medical procedures. We are also testing employees and residents of our Community Living Centers and other inpatient units in accordance with current CDC guidance.
Safety Measures at Our FacilitiesYour safety is important to us. The following measures have been implemented:
- All individuals should wear appropriate face masks (cloth, surgical/generic) while on our campuses and in our facilities; health care providers will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- No Visitations; virtual visits are encouraged
- Cleaning of high-touch surfaces in our facilities
- Increased physical distancing in common areas like waiting rooms, Canteen and retail stores
Community Living Center Information
On March 16 the Assistant Under Secretary for Health Operations provided updated guidance for visitation at VHA CLCs and SCID facilities. This updated guidance allows for new visitation, within parameters, while maintaining a safe environment for all CLC residents and staff. These strategies are based on recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The core principles for COVID-19 infection prevention regardless of vaccination status should continue and include:
Screening for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection of all individuals that enter a CLC or SCID unit;
Use of a well-fitted face mask;
Hand hygiene including the availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
Physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
Outdoor visits generally pose a lower risk of transmission and are preferred over indoor visits. Outdoor visits can occur on patios, balconies or other outdoor space accessible to the CLC or SCI/D and the visitor that maximizes risk reduction. Indoor visits may occur in an area that minimizes the amount of traffic in the CLC or SCI/D neighborhood.
- The following conditions must be met for opening visitation:
- The COVID-19 county positive rate for the CLC or SCI/D is < 10%;
- > 70% of residents in the CLC or SCI/D are fully vaccinated;
- Most recent positive new SARS-CoV-2 test (resident and staff) must have been > 14 days in the past;
- Residents have met criteria for release from quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated
- Any visitation must occur with all parties maintaining well-fitting face masks, maintain social distancing with the availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Testing protocols to address a new case of COVID-19 infection in a CLC or SC/ID neighborhood should be followed with all visitations suspended
- If the first round of outbreak testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas of the CLC or SCI/D, then visitation can resume in those other areas. Visitation should continue to be suspended to the affected neighborhood(s) until criteria are met to end testing.
- If the first round of outbreak testing reveals one or more additional COVID-19 cases in two or more neighborhoods, then the CLC or SCI/D should suspend visitation for all residents until the criteria to end testing is met.
Visitors should not be required to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 or fully vaccinated as a condition of visitation
- Currently, access to our facility is limited for emergency care or by appointment only.
- Patients, visitors, and employees will all be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry into our buildings. Please allow a few extra minutes for this process.
- Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
- If you have opted in to VEText, you will be asked to check-in using that option. Otherwise, your care team will provide instruction on check-in procedures.
- You are asked to wear a face covering or mask while in our facilities; our staff will wear masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) as well.
- Please observe physical distancing signage in waiting areas, elevators, canteen and other common areas.
- Caregivers will not be allowed to join you for your appointment unless you need them for mobility or cognitive support. They will be asked to wait in the designated parking locations. It is important that your care team has their contact information so we can call them when you are ready for pick-up.
Virtual Care Options
The VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center is a service of the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8) - providing 24/7, virtual care and support to Veterans enrolled for VA Health Care in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Veterans who receive care in the network can call 1-877-741-3400 around the clock to get their health questions or concerns answered from the comfort and convenience of their home, or wherever they may be. Veterans can also contact the center using VA Health Chat – a secure mobile chat application available for IOS and Android devices – Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Other virtual access to care options available too. Learn more at www.connectedcare.va.gov.