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Veterans Service Building
20 West 12th Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
 

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Anne Sonnee, Director of Communications
(651) 757-1536  (Office)
(651) 263-2640 (Cell)
Anne.Sonnee@state.mn.us
 

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MDVA COVID-19 Updates

3/27/2020 11:30:00 AM

/mdva/assets/2020-03-30-call-ahead-with-symptoms_tcm1066-425534.pdfCall Ahead with SymptomsAs we respond to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) remains committed to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. We are following CDC, CMS and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance. Changes in our operations continue to provide a safe environment for both the Veterans and families we serve and our employees.

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries remain open for visitors who should practice social distancing.

Effective Monday, March 30 at 8 a.m., we will be adopting restrictions similar to those taking effect at all VA National Cemeteries.

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries will be open for direct transfer or direct interment ONLY. Access to the Cemetery Administration Offices will be limited to Cemetery staff only. Cemetery Administrators are available to discuss this situation and respond to questions. For more information, visit our /mdva/memorials/stateveteranscemeteries/index.jspCemeteries webpage.

Minnesota Veterans Homes

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are striving to keep families informed of the situation at the Veterans Homes and any changes in our policies. We have established a COVID-19 Information Line for families of Minnesota Veterans Homes Residents. They can call this number any time to hear a recorded message from an MDVA leader who will provide the latest general updates. The message will be updated every day. The numbers are: (651) 757-1599 OR 1-833-454-0147.

This number does not accept messages. If families have specific questions about a Resident, they should call the Minnesota Veterans Home directly and speak to their care team.

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are continuing a practice of infection control, similar to actions taken during past highly contagious periods for influenza and norovirus. A Restricted Visitor Policy remains in effect. We are also temporarily revising guidelines related to admissions, leaves and passes. These changes reflect guidance provided by CDC and CMS and an aggressive strategy of containment and contagion control in our Homes. These protect our vulnerable Veterans and allow us to maintain the integrity of our mission to care for and protect the health of our Veteran Residents and staff. For more information, visit our /mdva/homes/index.jspHomes webpage.

Many people are asking how they can help the Minnesota Veterans Homes in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As you know, there is a shortage of facemasks. If you sew, you can donate face masks. View an instructional video here.

The Minnesota Veterans Homes would welcome any donations of facemasks to use if there is a shortage in our homes.

The Homes are also accepting donations including:

  • Handmade cards or drawings pictures

The following donation items must be brand new:

  • Small craft kits (for individuals)
  • Adult coloring books
  • New small packs of crayons/colored pencils
  • DVD’s – classic shows
  • Large piece puzzles (100-300 pieces)
  • MP3 players
  • Magazines – current and brand new
  • Easter baskets with wrapped candy – they could be assembled individually or provided for staff to assemble.

For more information, contact your local Minnesota Veterans Home.

Hiring

MDVA is hiring! The needs of Minnesota Veterans do not diminish during this time, and MDVA needs staff to serve and care for our Veterans. We have a significant need for Certified Nursing Assistants and Resident Assistants in our Veterans Homes.

Working for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is a rewarding career with great State of Minnesota Benefits. For more information on current job openings, visit our /mdva/about/work-for-mdva.jspWork for MDVA webpage.

MDVA Staff

Following the directive of Governor Walz, all MDVA employees who are able are now teleworking. Staff are available by phone and email and maintaining operations with minor adjustments.

Of course, our Healthcare staff continue to report to the Minnesota Veterans Homes to care for our Residents. A special thanks to these employees!

Veterans Crisis Line

1-800-273-8255 press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line, or text to 838255, or chat online 24/7/365



March 20, 2020

As we respond to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) remains committed to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. We are following CDC, CMS and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance. Some changes in our operations are necessary to provide a safe environment for both the Veterans and families we serve and our employees.

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries remain open for both visitors and interments. We are strongly urging that all visitors and committal services adhere to MDH guidelines:

  • Postpone or cancel events where 50 or more people would gather.
  • Events of any size should only be continued if protecting vulnerable populations, emphasizing hand hygiene and practicing social distancing of six feet.
  • When feasible, modify events to be virtual for some attendees.

Options for consideration:

  • Hold a direct burial or interment now and postpone committal or memorial services to a later date.
  • Postpone or reschedule burial or interment and services to a later date.
  • Limit the number of attendees to less than 50 for outdoor services.
  • Explore live streaming the service on social media to allow some people to attend virtually.
  • Please be aware that volunteer and military honor guard availability may be limited.

Cemetery Administrators are available to discuss this situation and respond to your questions.

Minnesota Veterans Homes Admissions, Leaves and Passes

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are continuing a practice of infection control, similar to actions taken during past highly contagious periods for influenza and norovirus. We are temporarily revising guidelines related to admissions, leaves and passes. These changes reflect guidance provided by CDC and CMS and an aggressive strategy of containment and contagion control in our Homes. These protect our vulnerable Veterans and allow us to maintain the integrity of our mission to care for and protect the health of our Veteran Residents and staff.

We will be restricting admissions in both our four Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) and our two Domiciliary (DOMS) locations. SNF admissions will be limited to Veterans who have a critical need for support without the availability of care or resources to maintain their health and welfare for any reason. DOMS admissions will be limited to Veterans who have no emergency resources and are at imminent risk to life, health and welfare, including the homeless Veteran.

All new admissions will be carefully screened to avoid introducing any infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to the Homes.

In addition, Resident leaves or passes will be postponed to limit exposure to the Resident, other Residents and staff who may be affected.

For more information, talk to the Home Administrator.

GI Bill Payments to Veteran Students

Veterans who are currently enrolled in higher education programs will continue to receive GI Bill payments as they transition from on-site instruction to online instruction. This provision was included in new legislation signed into law by President Trump this week.

Hiring

MDVA is hiring! The needs of Minnesota Veterans do not diminish during this time, and MDVA needs staff to serve and care for our Veterans. We have a significant need for Certified Nursing Assistants and Resident Assistants in our Veterans Homes.

Working for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is a rewarding career with great State of Minnesota Benefits.

For more information on current job openings, visit our Work for MDVA webpage.


March 13, 2020

MDVA is continuing to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as the number of reported cases in Minnesota increase.  We are working closely with the Minnesota Departments of Health, Public Safety and others for latest information and guidance.

Our priority is to protect the health and safety of Minnesota Veterans, including the Residents in our five Minnesota Veterans Homes, and our employees. As of 3/13/20, we have no cases of Coronavirus in our Homes.

We are adopting the State of Minnesota community mitigation strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve” to reduce stress on our healthcare systems. The goal is to limit person to person contact. See MDH website for details.

/mdva/assets/2020-03-13-flatten-the-curve_tcm1066-423060.jpg2020-03-13-flatten-the-curve

Latest MDVA updates:

/mdva/assets/2020-03-13-flu-vs-covid-mortality_tcm1066-423062.jpgFlu vs. COVID-19: mortality by ageBecause of the vulnerability of our Veterans Homes’ population, effective 3/13/20, the five Minnesota Veterans Homes have adopted a Restricted Visitor Policy. The Restricted Visitor Policy includes the following:

  • Restricting visitors except for those visiting Residents at end of life and/or when deemed medically necessary
  • Using a single entrance for the facility
  • Allowing essential volunteers and vendors only
  • Requiring Visitors to complete a self-declaration screening at entrance
  • Conducting evaluative screening and education at facility entrance by a Home Clinical staff member
  • Providing MDVA Resident/Guest internet access to Residents so they can communicate with their families 
  • Postponing public events and entertainment
  • Restricting activities to unit levels
  • The Adult Day Center (Vets Club) located on the Minneapolis Veterans Home Campus will close starting Monday, March 16 to April 6. The reopen date is tentative and subject to change. Staff are being reassigned and clients and families have been notified.

As an employer, the State of Minnesota is role modeling for other employers. The Governor sent an email to all State Employees today that noted:

  • Employees may explore teleworking, if feasible, with approval from their Supervisor. 
  • Agencies should implement social distancing (6 feet or more) measures between workers.
  • Supervisors should consider staggered work schedules.
  • Leaders should limit in-person meetings and work-related social gatherings.
  • Employees should cancel all interstate and intrastate travel, except for certain exemptions.

Employees should follow prevention measures:

  • Stay home if you are ill
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands

Here are resources for more information:

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