The fatality rate among VA patients continues to rise, and a higher percentage of veterans stricken with illness eventually succumb to the disease than the rest of the public. At least 357 patients in VA care have died from the virus as of Tuesday morning. The death rate among VA patients who have contracted the virus is nearly 6.5%. In addition, more than 1,500 VA employees have tested positive for coronavirus last month. There is a debate between officials and employee advocates over the availability of personal protective equipment for employees, however VA leaders have insisted that supplies are adequate to meet the needs of their facilities. Late last week, Richard Stone — the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration — sent a message to staff promising that all employees in a community living center, spinal cord injury unit or inpatient mental health unit will receive one mask a day to help limit exposure to the illness.