23 veterans dead at Massachusetts care facility, 18 staff members test positive for COVID-19

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A veterans care facility in Massachusetts has reported another death of a veteran, bringing the total number to 23.

Brooke Karanovich, spokesperson for the Office of Health and Human Services provided the following update regarding Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke:

  • 23 veteran resident deaths (17 positive tests, 3 pending, 2 negative, 1 unknown)
  • 59 veteran residents have tested positive   
  • 159 veteran residents have tested negative
  • 18 staff tested positive 

Starting Monday, the Soldiers’ Home will have additional nursing staff. The National Guard has been working with clinical officials to support clinical and non-clinical staffing needs at the home. A chaplin and additional behavioral health specialists were added by the National Guard as well.

“The Commonwealth continues to respond aggressively to meet the needs of the veterans and staff of the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes, including deploying additional staff support, supplies, and resources for veteran residents, families, and employees during this unprecedented pandemic.” 

– EOHHS Spokesperson

Within the facility, quarantine zones for COVID-19 positive residents have been enforced. The clinical command has restricted visitors, increased personal hygiene measures and increased disinfection protocols.

On Friday, 40 veteran residents who tested negative were moved to the Holyoke Medical Center. The move allowed staff at the Soldiers’ Home to focus on the residents who remain at the home and those in isolation who have tested positive for the virus.

Family members of every veteran resident have been contacted by the facility and provided an update.

TIMELINE: COVID-19 cases reported at Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke

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