Lexington VA Health Care System analyzing COVID-19 tests

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington VA Health Care System began analyzing COVID-19 tests recently for Veterans, as one of eight VA medical centers that can now analyze tests for COVID-19. The system can perform at least 288 tests per day and each test takes approximately seven hours to yield results, according to the VA.

“Testing in-house will allow VA providers to give our Veterans the appropriate care, as fast as possible,” said Vicki Richardson, Lexington VA Health Care System Laboratory manager. “Faster testing times means more timely access to needed health care.”

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The COVID-19 tests occur in the Special Reference Laboratory within the Lexington VAHCS Laboratory. Special Reference Laboratory is a national reference laboratory that performs specialty serologic testing for VA medical centers throughout the country. This new testing capability is also allowing the Lexington VAHCS to assist VA facilities in Louisiana with testing, according to the VA.

The Lexington VAHCS serves 38,000 Veterans in Central Kentucky with two main campuses in Lexington – Franklin R. Sousley Campus and Troy Bowling Campus – and community clinics in Somerset, Hazard, Berea, and Morehead, Ky.

The Lexington VAHCS has suspended elective medical procedures and is conducting surgery in emergent or urgent situations only.

Dental, optometry, podiatry, ophthalmology and audiology appointments, are postponed unless emergent or urgent.

Mental health is conducting all appointments and support groups via telehealth.

Primary care and specialty care providers are maintaining care using telehealth and phone appointments with Veterans unless urgent or emergent.

The Lexington VAHCS is providing local operational updates on its website at www.va.gov/lexington  and on its Facebook page @VALexington.

The community can also sign up to receive email updates at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USVHA/subscriber/new?topic_id=USVHA_504

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.