HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has reached a hopeful milestone in the Covid-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, after retesting veterans who were initially diagnosed with the virus.
The Office of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that there are no positive Covid-19 cases among the residents at the Holyoke facility and that all 84 veterans who tested positive for Covid-19 “have been determined clinically recovered.”
The current status of residents at the Soldiers’ Home as of Thursday reported by the state:
- 0 veterans are positive across the Home and those at Holyoke Medical Center
- 65 veterans tested negative (meaning that they have always tested negative)
- 84 veterans have recovered, meaning they previously tested positive and are now clinically recovered
- 1 veteran has refused testing
There are currently 121 veteran residents on-site at the facility and 29 are offsite. Over 27 veterans are at a dedicated skilled nursing unit at Holyoke Medical Center and two are receiving acute care offsite.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak began at the facility in March, 96 veteran deaths have been reported with 76 testing positive for the virus, 17 tested negative, one is unknown and two recovered.
On March 30, HHS confirmed with 22News that a Covid-19 outbreak at the facility had claimed the lives of 11 veterans and affected several others along with employees.
The superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home, Bennett Walsh, was put on paid administrative leave that Monday. Val Liptak, RN, CEO of Western Massachusetts Hospitals, replaced Walsh and assumed responsibility for the administration. The National Guard also provided assistance at the home.
The state has since launched several investigations into the outbreak at the veteran’s facility to determine whether the Soldiers’ Home violated the rights of residents by failing to provide them with “adequate medical care generally, and during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Over 80 employees at the facility were also diagnosed with Covid-19.
The state reported on Thursday that they too have been retested and that there are only two positive cases among them remaining.
Visitations resumed outdoors this week to allow veterans to visit their loved ones. The Soldiers’ Home will offer families a special Father’s Day visitation on Sunday.