Holyoke Soldiers’ Home deaths rise to 76; 66 COVID-19 positive

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The death toll continues to grow at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

On Sunday, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced one more veteran passed away at the home after two residents were reported dead Saturday. There have now been 76 resident deaths at the home, with 66 testing positive, nine testing negative and one test pending.

The numbers below are the latest from the state:

  • 82 residents have tested positive
  • 60 residents have tested negative
  • 8 residents have pending results
  • 81 employees have tested positive

The veterans under the care of the Soldiers’ Home are some of the most vulnerable to Covid-19. State Representative John Velis visited the home with fellow lawmakers and officials Friday to get an up close look at the crisis.

A veteran himself, Velis was moved by the heroes living in the home.

In conversation with them, you ask them how they are doing and without exception they all said great, today is a great day. I was taken aback by that, I was expecting to hear something different but I didn’t, so for me that just reinforced how special this place is and how those gentlemen and ladies there embody that warrior spirit.

A lot of those veterans are my constituents they are a lot of all of our constituents. We can’t let something like this ever happen again.

State Rep. John Velis, 4th Hampden District

Velis also mentioned using this as a lesson to make sure that the state is prepared now and in the future to give this county’s heroes the care they deserve.

HHS said the Soldiers’ Home has maintained adequate staffing across the facility with help from the National Guard and other agencies. Additional management staff have also helped lead operations at the home.

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