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VAGLAHS Establishes Mobile Isolation Unit in Response To COVID-19 Hospitalization Surge, Administers COVID Vaccinations to WWII Veterans


January 7, 2021

Los Angeles , CA — VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) announces the establishment of a Mobile Isolation Unit (MIU) on its West Los Angeles (WLA) Campus to provide additional beds to COVID-19-positive Veteran patients who are hospitalized.

Set to open for use on Friday, January 8, 2021, the MIU will provide an additional 25 beds to Veteran patients diagnosed with COVID-19. 20 beds will accommodate Veterans who require IV medication or low-level observation. The remaining 5 beds will be part of an infusion center for the treatment of newly diagnosed Veterans who have COVID-19 symptoms but who do not require hospitalization, helping to prevent long-term complications related to the virus.

“The purpose of the MIU is to ensure we have the capacity for the increasing volume of Veterans diagnosed with COVID-19. We need an additional space to care for our Veterans who have a higher level of medical acuity,” said Dr. Steven Simon, Chief of Staff, VAGLAHS.

The structure, a rapid deployable soft-sided unit with negative air pressure capability, will help free up bed space at the WLA Campus’s Medical Center, as well as help minimize staff and patient exposure to Veterans who are COVID-19-positive. The self-contained structure comes complete with its own power generation, water handling, water containment, water purification, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and provides each Veteran patient his or her own private room.

“VAGLAHS is committed to using all available resources in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 vaccine administration to our Staff and Veterans is a major step forward to control and ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Steven Braverman, Director, VAGLAHS. “The establishment of VA’s new state-of-the-art Mobile Isolation Unit (MIU) here in West LA increases our capacity to care for our C-19 positive Veterans during this surge while continuing to serve Veterans across the spectrum of their other healthcare needs.”

VAGLAHS invites members of the media to the WLA Campus at 10:00 a.m. PST on Friday, January 8, 2021, for a behind-the-scenes walkthrough tour of the new MIU. At that time, VA will administer COVID-19 vaccinations to three World War II Veteran patients:

Morris Chester (95) was captured in Germany on December 19, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge and was held for three and a half months before he was liberated. As a Prisoner of War (POW), Chester and other POWs were placed inside railroad boxcars and parked next to German factories as part of Germany’s attempt to dissuade American forces from bombing the factories. The factories were bombed anyway, hitting one of the boxcars and subsequently killing many American POWs. Despite all of this, Chester survived and served for two and a half years in the United States Army. Prior to his capture, Chester weighed 137 pounds but as a result of his capture, weighed in at only 85 pounds at the time he was liberated.

Harry Corre (97) served six years in the United States Army. He was captured on Bataan, Philippines in April 1942 and was on the Bataan Death March for two and a half days before he escaped to Corregidor Island. There, he was recaptured on May 6, 1942 when Corregidor was surrendered and he became a Prisoner of War (POW) for three and a half years. When captured, Corre weighed 130 pounds, but went down to only 87 pounds when he was liberated in 1945. As a POW, Corre spent two years in Camp Cabanatuan #1 and #3, and worked in Mitsubishi Coal Mines as a slave laborer for another one and a half years in Kushu, Japan, a town located 30 miles across the bay from Nagasaki.

Bernard Waldow (96) was captured at the Battle of The Bulge on December 16, 1944 where he remained a POW for three and a half months. At the time of his capture, Waldow weighed 112 pounds, but weighed only 80 pounds upon liberation. Waldow served in the United States Army for two and a half years.


ABOUT VAGLAHS: VAGLAHS is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22) offering services to Veterans residing in Southern California. VAGLAHS consists of two ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and eight community-based outpatient clinics. VAGLAHS serves Veterans residing throughout five counties: Kern, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. There are approximately 1.4 million Veterans in the VAGLAHS service area. For more information, call (310) 268-3340 or visit us at Veterans in need can call the VA hotline toll-free at 877-4-AID-VET.    



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