I-Team: Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke board reveals precautions taken days before first Covid-19 case


HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The 22News I-Team has been digging to get you details on the Covid-19 crisis at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for more than a month.

The state said Tuesday afternoon three more veterans have died at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, bringing the total to 80. The Board of Trustees revealed what Superintendent Bennet Walsh said about Covid-19 precautions, 11 days before the first confirmed case.

Superintendent Walsh was placed on paid administrative leave, when the state took over operations. The Board of Trustees posted the minutes online from their March 12 meeting with Walsh.

According to the minutes, Walsh said they were taking similar precautions to the flu, to protect their residents from Covid-19. He also said their Covid-19 response was approved by both the state’s Office of Health and Human Services and Dept. of Veteran Services.

Walsh also noted that they had been discussing Covid-19 precautions with the city, and were prepared to contact four outside agencies if the need raised for more staffing. Walsh’s attorney William Bennett told the I-Team Walsh’s documented communication with state officials has been handed over to state investigators.

The 22News I-Team filed freedom of information act requests to the Departments of Public Health, Veterans Services, and to the Executive office of Health and Human Services.

All three agencies have denied our requests – citing active investigations.

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