A record number of residents have reportedly passed away from COVID-19 at a Massachusetts veterans’ home.
According to reports, 68 residents at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke who tested positive for the virus have died as of Wednesday. It is unknown whether another person who died also had COVID-19. Meanwhile, another 82 residents and 81 employees have tested positive.
Late last month, the superintendent of the home was put on paid administrative leave after information was released about the deaths of 11 veterans amid a coronavirus outbreak at the facility.
The state has already deployed the National Guard to assist at the facility, while state and federal authorities have launched investigations into the situation.
Officials at the facility told local leaders in March that they were taking precautions similar to those they do for the flu for COVID-19.
Long term care facilities have become the crisis within the crisis.
Last week I called for State intervention at all nursing homes with positive cases to ensure proper staffing, protocols, and PPE. https://t.co/LRVIJgkPn6
— Alex Morse (@AlexBMorse) April 27, 2020
Mayor Alex Morse says the Soldiers’ Home failed to do enough to protect its residents.
“Our Board of Health had conversations with a lot of long term care facilities including folks at the Solders’ Home. Unfortunately though it doesn’t look like those precautions were actually implemented,” he stated.
Massachusetts Governor Baker said he did not know about the center’s outbreak until March 29, after several veterans had already died.
There were 226 veterans living at the Soldiers’ Home when the outbreak started. At this time, less than half of them are still residing there.