Assistant director of nursing at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home resigns as death toll nears 100

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The assistant director of nursing at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home has resigned amid investigations into the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility that claimed the lives of at least 70 veterans, according to the state. 

The Office of Health and Human Services confirmed the resignation of Celeste Surreira from her position as assistant director of nursing at the facility with 22News Wednesday. Her resignation went into effect on July 6. This comes more than three months after Bennett Walsh, superintendent of the Home at the time was placed on paid administrative leave. 

REPORT: Independent Investigation at Holyoke Soldier’s Home

HHS said the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke currently has an interim clinical leadership in place and a search for several key clinical management positions is underway, including for that position. 

The Covid-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home began in March and by July, 99 veterans would die, with 76 testing positive for the deadly virus. Over 80 employees at the facility were also infected with the virus. The latest status at the facility released by the state as of July 8:

81 Holyoke Soldiers’ Home veterans recover from Covid-19

  • 0 veterans are positive across the Home and those at Holyoke Medical Center 
  • 63 veterans are negative 
  • 82 veterans have recovered, meaning they previously tested positive and are now clinically recovered 
  • 1 veteran has a pending test result 
  • 1 veteran has refused testing 

Resident locations: 

  • 119 veterans are onsite 
  • 28 veterans are offsite   
  • 26 veterans are at a dedicated skilled nursing unit at Holyoke Medical Center 
  • 2 veterans are receiving acute care offsite 
  • Since March 1, there have been 99 veteran deaths (76 deaths of veterans who tested positive, 19 veterans who tested negative, 1 veteran whose status was unknown, 3 veterans were clinically recovered) 
  • Employees at the Home have been retested and all are clinically recovered. 

Governor Baker addresses investigation report on Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke

An independent investigation ordered by the Baker administration revealed many faults and lack of leadership at the Soldiers Home. Several state and federal investigations into the virus outbreak at the home and how it was handled are also underway. 

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