VA medical systems across the state have begun basic screening for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
Data suggests the elderly and those with underlying health issues are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. That means VA patients — who tend to be older and sicker than patients elsewhere — may face greater risk.
That's one reason the VA systems across the state, which are anchored by medical centers in Asheville, Durham, Fayetteville and Salisbury, have started mandatory screening for anyone entering the centers, clinics, or other facilities.
The screening applies not just to patients, but also visitors, employees, volunteers and contractors.
They'll be asked a simple set of questions about symptoms and recent travel.
VA officials say that if patients they are experiencing symptoms such as fever-with-cough, or shortness of breath, they should contact their primary care team before visiting a VA facility.