Tags: Coronavirus | veterans | outbreak | massachusetts | elder care | death toll

Virus Kills Nearly 70 Veterans at Massachusetts Elder Care Facility

many small american flags and wreaths are seen in the ground outside in holyoke, massachusetts
Flags and wreaths honor veterans, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Mass. (Rodrique Ngowi/AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 April 2020 06:59 AM

A coronavirus outbreak at an elder care facility in Massachusetts has killed 67 veterans and infected dozens more, Fox News reports.

Federal officials are looking into whether residents were denied proper medical care as deaths climb and more people get sick. So far, an additional 82 veterans tested positive and so have 81 employees at Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. 

“It’s horrific,” Edward Lapointe, whose father-in-law lives at the home and had a mild case of the virus, told Fox News. “These guys never had a chance.”

The virus has claimed almost one-third of the lives of the residents at the facility. The crisis is being described as the deadliest known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the U.S.

The Boston Globe reported some employees were not wearing proper personal protective equipment.

Joan Miller, a nurse at the home, told the newspaper the facility was short on staffing and workers had to go back and forth between units to help, which caused the virus to spread quickly. She said an entire unit was shut down due to a lack of staff, which forced veterans who tested positive to be close to uninfected veterans. 

"Veterans were on top of each other. We didn’t know who was positive and who was negative and then they grouped people together and that really exacerbated it even more,” Miller told the Globe. “That’s when it really blew up.”

Before the virus, about one-third of the residents were 90 or older and needed around-the-clock care, according to the Boston Globe. 

Only 106 residents remain in the facility as of Monday, according to Brooke Karanovich, a spokeswoman for Health and Human Services. In late March, there were about 230 residents. 

The superintendent of the veterans' home, Bennett Walsh, has been placed on administrative leave. He has accused state officials of falsely claiming they were unaware of potential problems.

The situation has launched several separate investigations by Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and the federal Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

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A coronavirus outbreak at an elder care facility in Massachusetts has killed 67 veterans and infected dozens more, Fox News reports. Federal officials are looking into whether residents were denied proper medical care as deaths climb and more people get sick. So far, an...
veterans, outbreak, massachusetts, elder care, death toll
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2020-59-29
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 06:59 AM
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