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DC's VA Medical Center experiences its first coronavirus deaths, officials say

VA Medical Centers and nursing homes have been two of the most hard-hit communities by the coronavirus.

WASHINGTON — The Washington DC VA Medical Center has reported its first two coronavirus-related deaths.

The two deaths that happened Monday include veterans that were in their 50s and 70s, according to Veterans Affairs. 

So far, Veterans Affairs records show that the Washington DC VAMC is treating 25 inpatient and 84 outpatient veterans for the coronavirus and that there are 4,261 positive veteran cases in the United States. 

Other VA Medical Centers in the region that are also treating patients for the coronavirus include the Baltimore VAMC and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia.

VA Medical Centers and nursing homes have been two of the most hard-hit communities by the coronavirus. This is due to the age of the people in these communities and because of preexisting medical conditions that they may have. 

You can learn more about the impacts of the coronavirus to the Veterans Affairs community by visiting the department's website by clicking here.

VA Medical Centers have been taking precautions to help keep those coming to their facilities safe, including health screenings at entrances for everyone that visits.

While VAMC's are being impacted greatly by the virus, workers at these medical centers are reportedly concerned for their safety. 

In a lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Government Employees on behalf of VA employees, lawyers argue that VA employees are in "imminent danger" and "workplace conditions and practices are expected to cause death or serious physical harm" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"If I say, 'Inhumane acts' I think I still would be speaking mildly," said Dr. Everett Kelley, President of AFGE National. "The VA is required by law to offer workers a place of employment, which is free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm and the VA is in violation of that law."

Kelley referenced the story of a VA employee in California who, in lieu of proper personal protective equipment, was allegedly provided a trash bag to protect them against catching the virus. Kelley alleges that trash bag was then shared with another employee.

Christina Noel, press secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs took issue with the AFGE claims. 

"The claims being made are false to the point where sharing them with your readers would be highly irresponsible,” Noel said in an email to WUSA9.

Read the complaint here.

RELATED: Union leader: VA employees face 'imminent danger' amid coronavirus pandemic

RELATED: VA Medical Center in West Virginia bracing for more coronavirus cases

RELATED: How VA hospitals are dealing with coronavirus cases amid spike in the veteran population

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