ABC 36 Exclusive: Secretary of Veteran Affairs talks Covid19

An ABC 36 Exclusive interview with the U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs.

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Lexington, Ky (WTVQ)– Since the start of the pandemic more than 12,000 veterans have tested positive for Covid19.
The VA system had to act quickly in order to protect veterans.

U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Robert Wilkie, says “That’s something we started to do early on. We set up our emergency response centers the last week of January before the rest of the country knew what was happening.”

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One segment of the population at risk is World War II veterans. Secretary Wilkie says preserving our heroes and our history absolutely went into the decisions made.

“Of a particular interest to us is our vulnerable population. More than half our veterans in nursing homes are from World War II and Korea. And we had to take a very difficult decision early on in the process to stop them from receiving their friends and families, but in so doing we were able to save lives.” Says Secretary Wilkie.

He says continuing to be proactive in the care of veterans specifically in testing and treatment of Covid19 will play a major part in handling the virus.

“That still stands today, if a veteran has a question call us. Call our clinics, Call our hospitals. We will respond.” Says Secretary Wilkie.

In many cases Secretary Wilkie says veterans can be too proud to ask for help, but he urges veterans to reach out at any time.

“If you need something, call us, we’re there for you, we’re there no matter what, we’ve never closed, and we want you to come see us. were here. We never shut down. We want to help. And we thank everyone.” Says Secretary Wilkie.