Lawmakers want deaths of 13 veterans at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home investigated

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has taken over at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after more than a dozen veterans died, half of them from COVID-19. 

Overall, 13 veterans have died and six of them tested positive for COVID-19. Tuesday night, Congressman Richard Neal is one of the many people from the community remembering the veterans who passed away here and calling for action. 

The 13 veteran residents at the Soldiers’ Home died between March 25 – March 31. The Holyoke mayor’s office said 10 current veteran residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 25 are waiting for test results.  

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse called the situation at the Holyoke Soldiers Home “unacceptable” and “a disservice to everyone who lives there.” 

“These are veterans at the Soldiers Home that gave their all for each and every one of us,” said Mayor Morse. “And frankly, they deserved better.” 

Congressman Neal is calling for a thorough state investigation. 

“We’ve called upon them in moments of great national challenge, world wars, regional conflict, but they’ve always done their part and that special category of designation that they receive particularly in retirement years at a Soldiers’ Home I think is very important,” said Neal. 

In addition to the veteran residents, seven staff members have also tested positive. 

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the residents who tested positive or are awaiting results have been isolated and staff members who had contact with them have been advised to quarantine until they are asymptomatic. 

Test results are still pending for five of those veterans who died.  

One tested negative and one is unknown. 

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