Investigation into deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home continues

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BOSTON (WWLP) — State legislators are still investigating the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

What the legislature has been able to uncover during their oversight hearings has a lot to do with how this incident could have been prevented. From leadership at the home to the home’s layout and more.

During Monday’s oversight hearing lawmakers spoke to members of the Chelsea Soldiers Home to see what they did differently when the virus entered their facility.  

In Holyoke, COVID-19 positive residents were forced into a room with residents that weren’t showing any symptoms. A practice that didn’t take place in Chelsea and is believed to have saved dozens of veteran lives.

However, many of the issues at the two homes were the same, space, vulnerable populations and a lack of PPE and medical staff.

“The quickly long term care and skilled nursing facility was built over 75 years ago and features that have an open ward setting and shared bathrooms,” an employee at the Chelsea Soldiers Home testified.

Right now the soldiers home in Chelsea is undergoing a series of renovations to make the facility safer for all veterans that live there.

Lawmakers are considering similar upgrades to the Soldiers Home in Holyoke. They will need to submit their construction plans to the federal government by August 1st in order to receive reimbursement.

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