Eighteen Have Now Died At Holyoke Soldiers' Home

BOSTON (State House News Service) — Three more veterans have died at the state-run Holyoke Soldiers' Home, the state announced Thursday. Since last week, 18 veterans who lived at the facility have died amid a significant outbreak of the highly-contagious coronavirus.

It was not immediately clear whether the new deaths in Holyoke announced Thursday were due to COVID-19. Before the new deaths were announced, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said 23 veteran residents and seven staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

The state also announced new numbers of the prevalence of COVID-19 at the Chelsea Soldiers' Home, where two veteran residents have died of the disease. Nine veteran residents have newly tested positive in addition to two staff members who tested positive. Two more staff members were tested but found not to have COVID-19 and three staff members are waiting on test results.

At Holyoke, the state has put the facility under the command of a new leader and a clinical command team. The governor also tapped a former first assistant U.S. attorney to investigate the situation in Holyoke. In Chelsea, a "continuity of operations plan" has been in place since early March and the facility continues to follow the guidance of state and federal public health officials, Sudders said.

"Despite the clinical command structure establishing order and medical protocols, COVID-19 is a highly-contagious virus that has a much more severe impact on older adults and those with underlying conditions," Sudders said. "The numbers of infected residents and deaths will, unfortunately, continue to increase over the next coming days." - Colin A. Young/SHNS |4/2/20 5:33 PM

Colin A. Young, State House News Service

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