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Hampton VA Medical Center screening visitors, patients for coronavirus symptoms at entrances

The Hampton VA hospital is being proactive. You'll now be screened for coronavirus before you can walk inside.

HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton VA employees are now screening for coronavirus symptoms at limited entrances around the medical center.

Hospital staff members are asking a series of questions to patients and visitors about coronavirus exposure, and some people with flu-like symptoms are receiving masks to wear.

“Man, if you’re coughing, they’re gonna try to get you a mask in here. It’s like we’re in a movie or something," said visitor Kevin Knox. 

The screening questions include: 

  • Do you have a fever, cough or flu-like symptoms? 
  • Where have you traveled recently? 
  • Have you been in contact with anyone with confirmed coronavirus disease?

“It’s a very proactive step they’re taking, just to make sure we keep things under control here and don’t let things get out of hand and stay in front of it," said visitor Jerry Price.

Honour Lotsey said she told screeners she had flu-like symptoms and she was given a mask to wear.

"Because I’m having some flu-like symptoms they kept me for a few extra minutes to further screen me and then they determined that I don’t have coronavirus," Lotsey said. 

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Virginia. Knox said the screens can be annoying, plus if you leave, you have to get screened again.

“It does seem like overkill, it really does. And a lot of people in there are irritated about it but it’s something we’ve got to go through right now," Knox said.

HVAMC leadership said the screens are a necessary to “mitigate risk.” All veterans and visitors entering any VA facilities in Hampton and three outpatient clinics will be screened indefinitely.

In a statement, HVAMC Public Affairs Officer John Rogers said the step is a controlled measure to address the outbreak:

"A process is in place to report and track Veterans and staff who screen positively for COVID-19. Those individuals will also be taken through a complete protocol that helps them and protects staff and others. Staff have been advised of the risks and the steps to take if they find themselves feeling affected," Rogers wrote.