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Following Urgent Request From Schatz, VA Health Team Mobilized, Heading To Hilo As Early As Today

VA Support Comes After Schatz Made Urgent Request For Federal Intervention Into Hilo Veterans Home Outbreak

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has mobilized a team of infection control experts, nurses, and other health care professionals to provide immediate support and help contain a COVID-19 outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. The move comes just days after Schatz made an urgent request to the VA following rising COVID-19 cases and deaths at the Hilo facility.

“More help is on the way,” said Senator Schatz. “This medical team will be a big help in containing the outbreak happening on the Big Island. My staff and I will continue working with the VA and state and local officials to make sure we are utilizing all the federal help that’s available.”

Details of the VA mission follows:

  • VA Subject Matter Experts will conduct an onsite assessment in the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo for infection control issues.  
  • The purpose is to formulate recommendations for interventions, processes, and procedures to address an outbreak of COVID-19.  
  • The VA team is expected to consist of: an infectious disease physician, a facilities engineer who understands environmental air flow and AC systems, an infectious disease nurse specialist with expertise in running COVID-19 units, a safety officer, an industrial hygienist, and a nurse manager.