The major VA medical center in Berkeley County, West Virginia, reported its first coronavirus deaths.
Federal records reviewed by the News4 I-Team show three patients have died of COVID-19 at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center. About two dozen more have tested positive.
Large tents have been erected outside the hospital to help keep respiratory patients separate from other hospital patients.
The medical center said it has not had to bring in extra medical teams – including retired nurses and doctors — to handle the wave of patients.
It declined to say whether it is rationing masks like other veterans hospitals, saying only that it’s following Centers for Disease Control and Protection guidelines.
Medical center Director Kenneth Allensworth said they are seeing a peak in patients, but he’s not sure if it’s the biggest peak they’ll experience.
“I really do not know if we’re on the front end, in the midst of, or the back end of a surge,” he said. “We continue to remain available and to be prepared for any scenario that may present.”
The Martinsburg VA Medical ccenter is one of the largest in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition to serving veterans and patients from West Virginia, it handles some from Loudoun County, Virginia, and Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland.
More than 800 patients of the nation’s VA hospitals have died of COVID-19.