VA Illiana Health Care System helping local hospitals


DANVILLE, Ill. ((WCIA)) – COVID cases continue to rise across the country, and that means more people are filling up hospital beds.

Many hospitals are hitting or getting close to capacity. So, now the VA in Danville is stepping up to help. They said they noticed hospitals in the southern part of the state were struggling, and they could help.

“The hospital system, not just in this region, but the state, and the country, is certainly under a lot of stress right now,” Douglas Toole, with the Vermilion County Health Department, said. “From a low spot in May and June, when we were just getting a trickle of new cases in. It’s really expanded, exploded, is really a better word for it. We’ve just watched it double, double, and double.”

That’s because not only are the number of COVID patients rising, but they’re still dealing with regular hospital visits.

“We keep hearing reports of hospitals being close to capacity, and part of that certainly is additional cases from storms, accidents, or illnesses, like we’ve heard going on,” Toole said.

That’s why Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System is stepping in to help parts of Illinois.

“We are taking patients from southern Illinois to relieve some of the pressures from the health care systems down there, because of COVID-19,” Zachary Sarge, Associate Director for VA Illiana Health Care System, said.

It’s called the Fourth Mission to support the community in a time of emergency. It’s in partnership with the state health department and FEMA.

The VA said they’re happy to do it.

“We are excited to contribute to the community at large with this special mission. We love taking care of veterans, but especially in a time of need, we love offering our services to non-veterans too,” he said.

This is not just for veterans. The VA has cleared beds for 20 non-Veteran, COVID negative patients to help.

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