Your WDVA looks back on the year and how COVID-19 changed the way we serve you, our Veterans Community,
Veterans in our State Veterans Homes, and our staff.
What can I say, it’s been quite a year…
One year since WDVA stood up our internal Emergency Operations Center.
One year since we began sharing COVID status on our WDVA website, including letters to State Veterans Homes Families and the number of positive COVID-19 cases across our agency.
One year of wearing more PPE that we ever thought possible, in every facet of our lives, and ordering, delivering and managing millions of pieces of PPE to ensure our residents, clients, and staff had these necessary protections. Even with worldwide shortages of PPE, our procurement team scrounged and worked hard so we did not run out!
One year of our incredible WDVA COVID-19 Emergency Team sharing information, learning from each other, making decisions on how to keep staff, residents and clients safe, and deciphering ever changing guidance from federal, state and local regulatory agencies. While this tsunami of guidance was overwhelming at times, our Team was working day and night to make it as operational as possible.
Together, we have come a long way since March of 2020 and I want to recognize the body of work that we have achieved together. I know it’s hard to talk about successes when we also experienced losses:
For our Walla Walla Team Member and our 19 residents that we lost after their COVID-19 diagnosis, we honor their lives and contributions and celebrate the time were able to share with them. Loss of life in long term care facilities is not a new phenomenon and certainly always brings a sense of grief and loss, but our shared experience of all being susceptible to this illness made outbreaks in our Homes more personal and touched us all differently.
But it’s also important for us to reflect on the heroic way that we came together to respond to a crisis and truly do the best that we could under the circumstances. We could not have come this far without people pitching in to get things done, and importantly without our Transitional Housing Program clients being there when duty called. Staffing the Orting and Port Orchard Veterans Home check-points, helping pass meal trays, performing daily screening, are just a few of the tasks they performed which allowed nursing home staff members to focus on other priorities.
As we look to the future, I have hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will help our agency and our communities move into some new sense of normal. I’m happy that we completed all three vaccine clinics at each of our Homes and want to congratulate their efforts to make the clinics happen, again without much notice! Thank you to each of you who elected to receive the vaccine. I know this is a very personal and for some, a very difficult decision, but for those you love and serve, please consider receiving the vaccine.
I cannot thank the WDVA Team enough for their dedication, perseverance and grit during this time of great uncertainty. We look forward to the future with a renewed hope and desire to “Serve Those Who Served”.