Missouri Veterans Commission News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 02, 2020
JEFFERSON CITY - After months of few or no COVID-19 cases among veterans at Missouri’s Veterans Homes, five of the seven homes have reported active veteran cases this past month. Two new veteran cases were reported at one home for the first time yesterday. There have also been active cases among staff members at six of the seven homes. The positive cases have been identified as MVC has conducted robust COVID-19 testing of veterans and staff. Over the last four months, more than 21,000 tests have been conducted. In some of the homes staff and veterans are tested twice per week.
“From the first day that COVID-19 was detected in Missouri, the Veterans Homes implemented an extensive plan based on best practices to attempt to keep the virus out of our homes and protect our veterans,” MVC Executive Director Paul Kirchhoff said. “This has included limiting access, setting up quarantine and isolation areas in advance, extensive use of Personal Protective Equipment and increased cleaning and hygiene measures. We are concerned to see the heroes we care for dealing with this disease that is so virulent among the elderly and vulnerable populations.”
Here is the current information at MVC Veterans Homes as it relates to COVID-19:
Cameron Veterans Home – active COVID-19 cases: 2 veterans (reported Oct. 1); 2 staff members
Cape Girardeau Veterans Home – active COVID-19 cases: 57 veterans; 12 staff members
Mexico Veterans Home – active COVID-19 cases: 0 veterans; 0 staff members
Mt. Vernon Veterans Home - active COVID-19 cases: 27 veterans; 4 staff members
St. James Veterans Home - active COVID-19 cases: 24 veterans; 9 staff members
St. Louis Veterans Home - active COVID-19 cases: 0 veterans; 2 staff member
Warrensburg Veterans Home - active COVID-19 cases: 12 veterans; 4 staff members
Until September, there had been a total of one death of a resident of a Veterans Home while there was an active COVID-19 case in a home. The one veteran death was at the St. Louis Home in April 2020. For the month of September, the following TOTAL deaths were reported at each home indicated while there were known COVID-19 cases among veterans in the home. The number of deaths that were caused by COVID-19 is NOT known at this time.
Cape Girardeau Veterans Home – 21 total deaths reported
Mt. Vernon Veterans Home - 7 total deaths reported
St. James Veterans Home - 10 total deaths reported
Warrensburg Veterans Home - 3 total deaths reported
“In order to combat COVID-19 at our Cape Girardeau and St. James Homes, we have been successful in obtaining additional staffing and resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Kirchhoff. “MVC continues to perform robust testing with our staff and veterans and review our procedures to help mitigate the risks as much as possible.”
Upon the first COVID-19 case being reported in Missouri on March 7, 2020, MVC immediately restricted access to visitors, vendors, and volunteers at all state veterans home. MVC implemented extensive training and established infectious disease protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include twice daily temperature checks and contact interviews with all Veterans Home employees. As testing became more widely available, MVC began Sentinel and random COVID-19 testing for both staff and veterans on May 26, 2020.
To help veterans keep socially engaged with family and loved ones, all MVC Veterans Homes facilitated no-contact window visits as well as FaceTime social media interactions as soon as access to their facilities was restricted. In August, MVC began outdoor visits with family members and loved ones as conditions permitted. All outdoor visits included a screening process and wearing masks.
The Missouri Veterans Commission, a division of the Department of Public Safety, operates seven State Veterans Homes, five State Veterans Cemeteries, and the Veterans Services Program. The Commission is committed to honoring and serving Missouri’s veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have preserved our nation and its freedoms. One mission, serving Veterans. For more information about the Missouri Veterans Commission programs, call (573) 751-3779, online at http://www.mvc.dps.mo.gov, or facebook.com/MissouriVeteransCommission.