Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition calls for additional resources from state

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Recently, 11 residents and staff at the Holyoke Soldiers Home tested positive for the virus and a local advocacy group is now working to prevent the outbreak from spreading, but they need the state’s help.

Although a state report released on Tuesday showed zero COVID-19 cases at the Soldiers’ Home, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition wants state leaders to release information on their infection control plans at the facility. Latest update at Holyoke facility as of August 11:

  • The current status of all residents:  
    • 0 positive and not clinically recovered
    • 58 veterans are negative
    • 3 residents have pending tests
    • 81 residents have been determined clinically recovered
    • 1 resident has refused testing
  • Resident locations:
    • 110 veterans are onsite
    • 33 veterans are offsite
  • 24 veterans are at a dedicated skilled nursing unit at Holyoke Medical Center
  • 9 veterans are receiving acute care offsite
  • Since March 1, there have been 76 veteran deaths of veterans who tested positive
  • All employees had been determined clinically recovered, and employees were retested again Thursday and Friday of last week. 
    • 0 tested positive
    • All who previously tested positive are clinically recovered

The coalition believes the best way to protect vulnerable residents at the home is to install a state of the art air filtration system. Now, according to HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders, the state’s work at the facility isn’t done, it’s simply still in progress.

“There are two projects going on at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, one is what the staff refer to as a ‘refresh’ which is a floor by floor infection control, ventilation and the rest,” Sec. Sudders said.

The second project is a capital investment plan which will eventually make structural changes to the facility. Both the Governor and Secretary Sudders told me they don’t believe these recent cases are an outbreak.

They say the state is doing all that it can right now to protect the residents living inside.

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