SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County has the highest death rate. The I-Team discovered this is because of several reasons, including the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
Out of every 100,000 people that live in Hampden County, 143 of them died from COVID-19.
Compare that to the most-populated county, Middlesex, where there have been 119 deaths per every 100,000 people.
Springfield’s Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris told 22News the city is seeing more cases of COVID-19, in more densely populated areas, which are often communities of color. People of color are more likely to live in crowded housing conditions and work in essential fields.
“We know underlying health conditions are a factor in the outcome of COVID-19,” said Caulton-Harris. “We are seeing, based on that, our communities of color are disproportionately represented in the data.”
Underlying medical conditions are more common in minority populations, according to the CDC.
Another factor, the high number of deaths at long-term care facilities here in Hampden County. One of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country happened at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Seventy-six veterans there died after testing positive for coronavirus.
“With that tragic situation alone accounting for 15 percent of the deaths in Hampden County, it certainly left a large impact on this community,” said Dr. Robert Roose, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Medical Center.
There was also a major coronavirus outbreak at JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow where at least 66 residents died. More than 5,000 Massachusetts residents of long-term care facilities have died, accounting for 63 percent of deaths in the state.