HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state’s Executive Office of Veterans’ Services says there are currently ten residents of the Holyoke Veterans’ Home who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The information was confirmed in an email sent to 22News. All ten residents are experiencing mild symptoms and are recovering. None of the veterans have been hospitalized and they have been placed in an isolation unit within the Holyoke Veterans’ Home.
“The Executive Office of Veterans’ Services is actively monitoring the cluster of cases at the Holyoke Veterans Home, where 10 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. I wish those infected a speedy recovery and want to express my gratitude to all those working to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents and staff,” said Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services, Jon Santiago. “Our team is taking a proactive and hands-on approach to this situation, implementing evidence-based measures to provide the highest level of care to our residents and staff.”
The Holyoke Veteran’s Home Superintendent also issued a statement saying, “We have been consulting with epidemiology at the Department of Public Health to help mitigate further spread,” said Superintendent Michael Lazo. “COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our veteran residents and staff safe.”
The Veterans’ Services Office says the Holyoke leadership team meets daily to review and monitor any situations and make adjustments when needed. Universal masking is implemented throughout the facility and staff members are tested daily.
Families and love ones have been notified about the incident. Families can still visit the Veterans’ Home but they discourage outside visits at this time.
Beginning on March 23, 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak impacted residents and workers, with 82 veteran residents eventually dying as a result of the virus. Both the former superintendent and medical director faced criminal charges as a result. Now, more than three years later ,10 veterans, making up 11 percent of the buildings residents are now sick with the virus.
State Senator John Velis (D) Westfield, sharing with 22News, “We lost a lot of human beings at the Holyoke Soldiers Home and for the memory of them, their families, the staff, for everybody involved we owe it to all of them to insure that something like this never happens again.”
While 10 cases at the same time is cause for some concern, Senator Velis tells us that the state and the veterans home is now more prepared after more than three years of dealing with the virus. “Everything right now is being done based on science, based on best practices, based on evidence. And that’s a marked change of what happened three years ago.”
The Veterans’ Services Office currently says that the Holyoke leadership team meets daily to review and monitor any situations and make adjustments when needed. And as of right now, universal masking is implemented throughout the facility and staff members are tested daily.
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