Holyoke mayor asking state to take control of long-term facilities with Covid-19 cases

Hampden County
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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The mayor of Holyoke is calling on the state to take emergency operation control of long-term care facilities as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.

In an email to 22News on Tuesday, Mayor Alex Morse said the recently released state data on positive cases in long term care facilities is alarming, citing a failed response to the situation.

The Holyoke Board of Health has been speaking with local long-term care facilities weekly, and more recently, daily, regarding their ability to combat the virus. We believe the situation has become too dire to continue with status quo operations.

In partnership with our local Board of Health and our Emergency Management Team, I am calling for immediate State intervention at Holyoke long-term care facilities with positive COVID-19 cases, and for the State to implement a plan for direct emergency operational control or physical oversight of all long-term care facilities with positive cases in Massachusetts.

Alex Morse, Holyoke Mayor

Mayor Morse added that regardless of ownership or structure, these facilities have proven unprepared to deal with the pandemic, pointing out that some facility administrators have reported to the city and state that they have things under control while others have voiced their need for assistance.

“Rather than place blame, or trust the word of facility administrators, what we need most is urgent intervention to save lives,” Morse stated in the news release. “The Department of Public Health and National Guard have thus far provided support for testing and PPE procurement, but it is abundantly clear that more support is needed.”

The Holyoke mayor suggests that additional support is needed, including maintenance of adequate staffing levels, implementation of proper PPE usage policies, and assurance of proper isolation and quarantine for healthy and sick residents.

On Tuesday, another veteran resident at the Soldiers’ Home passed away, brining the total to 63, 52 tested positive for Covid-19.

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