Police investigating white powdery substance found at VA clinic

An unknown white powdery substance received in an envelope has led to the closing of the West Plains VA Clinic and a police investigation.

The West Plains Daily Quill reports officials with the John J. Pershing Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Poplar Bluff saiy the discovery led to the clinic closing Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1 p.m. Wednesday, officials were notified an employee received and opened an envelope containing the substance.

Clinic administration followed the existing emergency plan, contacted local fire and police authorities and closed the clinic to have it professionally cleaned.

Drew A. DeWitt, medical center director, initially indicated the facility was expected to resume normal operations on Thursday and apologized for any inconvenience veterans experienced with the clinic’s early closure. However, Wednesday evening, officials announced the clinic would not reopen Thursday, and it is uncertain whether it will be open Friday.

“Our West Plains clinic will not be open tomorrow after all, due to additional time needed for analysis and cleaning,” says VA spokeswoman Angela Smith. “We apologize to our veterans for any inconvenience, but are adhering to the strictest safety standards.”

She added officials will provide updates regarding whether the clinic will open on Friday, and in the meantime, veterans who have questions about their health care may reach the VA call center at 573-686-4151 during normal business hours.

Local authorities are completing a full investigation.

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI