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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Some Local VA Clinics Stop In-Person Visits

Catherine Wheeler

The Sheridan VA Health System has announced it is stopping in-person visits at some of its community clinics.

The Riverton VA clinic has stopped face-to-face visits as of Monday, March 30. Clinics in Afton, Evanston and Casper will do the same starting on Monday, April 6. That's due to concern over the spread of the coronavirus in those communities.

Sheridan VA Director Pam Crowell said these clinics will still be open. Veterans who need care or have appointments will do so virtually with several telehealth options, like using secure messaging or a telephone.

"Then VA video connector, VVC, is another way we are providing health care. And that's more like a Facetime or virtual connection by video for veterans," she said.

Scott Morey, the Sheridan VA Health System's outpatient clinic director, said the closures in these communities are due to the number of confirmed cases in the area.

"We're doing this to protect not only our patients but to protect our health care providers in those clinics and any of the admin staff as well. And in turn, will protect any other veterans that come into the clinics, also," Morey said.

It's likely more of their health system's clinics will move to this model as more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed throughout the state, he said.

The Sheridan VA Medical Center will remain open.

"Since early March, we've been doing 100 percent screening of everybody who comes on our campus. Every employee, visitor, veteran, delivery person, contractor who comes up to our facility is being asked about their exposure level to COVID," Crowell said.

If veterans meet any screening criteria, they are taken to a different area for further screening.

Additionally, if veterans throughout the state start to experience flu or COVID-like symptoms, they are first asked to call the VA's number (307-675-3575) for phone screening before seeing a provider.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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