Dear Veterans,Like much of the rest of the state/territory, Bay Pines VA has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 positive patients seeking medical care at our hospital. The majority of these patients are unvaccinated individuals.

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Dear Veterans,

Like much of the rest of the state/territory, Bay Pines VA has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 positive patients seeking medical care at our hospital. The majority of these patients are unvaccinated individuals.

Protecting Veterans, our staff, and those in the community remains our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. We reinstated a policy of universal masking, physical distancing whenever possible and encouraging all eligible individuals to get vaccinated against the virus.

Regardless of your vaccination status, masks are mandatory for all staff, patients and visitors inside all Bay Pines VA buildings. Please wear your masks (covering your mouth and nose) at all times, especially when approaching our screening staff for entry and when around other Veterans and staff.

It is critically important that as many people get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 variants, and while it is possible that we will see more variants arise, all evidence shows that the existing vaccines available in the U.S. are effective against severe cases of COVID-19 and acquiring the disease in the first place.

Veterans, their families, and caregivers, are highly encouraged to get vaccinated. If you are still undecided, you can visit the VA’s Vaccine Questions webpage to help you make a decision.

Anyone who received their first dose but not the second, even if they are late for their second dose, should still get it. VA can provide vaccines to employees, Veterans or anyone who qualifies under the SAVE LIVES Act such as spouses and caregivers no matter where they received their first dose.

Visit our webpage at https://www.baypines.va.gov/services/covid-19-vaccines.asp or call the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center at 1-877-741-3400 to learn how to get the COVID-19 vaccine today.

Updated Visitation Policy

As of Friday, July 23, 2021, we have made the following changes to our visitation policy:

The Bay Pines VA hospital is closed to visitation and accompaniment of caregivers/escorts. Lee County Healthcare Center and all of our Community-based Outpatient Clinics are also closed to visitation and accompaniment of caregivers/escorts.

If a Veteran must be accompanied due to a physical or cognitive impairment, only one person may accompany the Veteran and the escort must have a visitor badge. A visitor badge can be requested during the screening process when you enter the campus/facility.

The Community Living Center on our main campus is closed to visitation. Veterans on Hospice Treating Specialty may have ONE visitor daily following all prior guidelines of screening, masking, and hand hygiene. Veterans who are COVID positive may not have any visitors.

This temporary change in visitation will be in effect until rescinded by the Medical Center Director. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the Medical Center Director.

What else you need to know.

You will need to receive two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and one does of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be more fully protected. Depending on the vaccine you receive, you may need to be available to come back to the location you received your first dose in either 21 or 28 days for your second dose.

After you receive the vaccine, it will still be important to continue wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, and staying at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you until the virus is under control. It is our hope the vaccines will help us all come through this pandemic together.

Please talk to your Care Team today about your vaccine options if you have not received a COVID-19 vaccination!

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