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Long Beach VA patient tests positive for coronavirus; hospital closes to visitors

Long Beach VA hospital. (Google Maps/Released)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Beach has been closed to visitors while the facility treats a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

Additional information about the patient, or that person’s condition, was not immediately available Wednesday, but officials said this was the first case of the illness caused by the coronavirus within the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

The decision to bar visitors was made “to stay ahead of a constantly changing environment and to reduce risk [of] exposure,” officials said in a statement Tuesday.

“This is not an easy decision to make, but given the risks to our veterans, their families and our communities, we feel we must. We are actively looking for safe alternatives to help you stay connected to your veterans, so continue to visit our social media pages for updates as they become available,” the statement noted.

Elective procedures and surgeries also have been postponed, and representatives “will be reaching out directly to our veterans to go over your treatment options,” according to the medical center.

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Hospital officials said they were endeavoring to ensure veterans received necessary care without taking unnecessary risks.

“Our teams are ready, we are prepared, and we are dedicated to providing the best care possible,” officials said.

As of Wednesday, there were 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Long Beach. That tally does not include the patient at the VA hospital because that person does not live in Long Beach, a city spokesman said.

Statewide, there have been more than 400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 13 deaths as of Wednesday.

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© 2020 the Los Angeles Times