soldiers homes

60 Dead in Coronavirus Outbreak at Mass. Soldiers' Home

A total of 90 residents, as well as 81 staff members, at the facility have tested positive for the virus

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Four more veterans died at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home this weekend, three of whom tested positive for the new coronavirus, health officials reported Sunday.

This brings the death total at the virus-stricken health care facility to 60 in recent weeks. Fifty of those 60 tested positive for the new coronavirus, with one unknown and one still pending.

A total of 90 veteran residents have tested positive for the virus and 66 have tested negative, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. Employees at the home have also been infected, with 81 testing positive thus far.

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The center received a new shipment of 5,000 gowns Sunday, adding to their supply of personal protective equipment for staff members. Health officials said the nursing home is planning to bring on additional management staff for nursing, facilities, operations and administration.

Federal agencies on April 10 said they had begun a joint investigation into the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new policies Sunday in an effort to better track and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

One of the new rules instructs nursing homes to report cases directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so the federal government can start collecting data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in the assisted living facilities. Another policy instructs nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives of cases inside their facilities.

Elsewhere, Chelsea Soldiers' Home also reported four new deaths this weekend. All of the victims had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Sixteen veteran residents, 12 of whom tested positive for the virus, have died in total.

At Chelsea's Home, 47 new members have been hired to fill staffing roles. The center says it has facilitated 50 video visits between residents and loved ones, while Brighton Marine has donated 25 iPads to help foster such communication.

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