A day after Vice President Mike Pence said that Veterans Affairs is “not seeing cases in its facilities increase,” the department’s coronavirus count topped 6,000 after one of its largest one-day jumps in the last month.
The number of deaths within the VA health system also rose to 391 on Thursday morning, up 18 from the day before. The department has seen a steady rise in cases and fatalities since March 22, when officials reported just 160 cases and a single death from the fast-spreading illness.
Nationally, more than 800,000 Americans have contracted the virus and more than 44,000 died have died from complications related to the illness.
Some medical center employees had been receiving only one mask a week to protect against infection.
On Wednesday, during the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House, Pence praised efforts by VA officials to deal with the outbreak.
“We are also very proud of our team at the VA,” he said. “The VA has addressed its capacity issues. It’s not seen cases among the veterans in its facilities increase, so they are deploying teams to focus on nursing homes.”