VT Told Ya’ So: 68 Dead (so far) at Mass. Veterans Home

Daily Beast: COVID-19 has killed nearly a third of the veterans who lived at Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts—and dozens more are infected. The Boston Globe reports that as of Monday afternoon the toll stood at 67, more than any other long-term care facility in New York, New Jersey, or New England. Eighty-three have contracted the new coronavirus, and 43 of those residents are now hospitalized. Only 106 of the original 226 patients remain at Soldiers’ Home, which is now the target of four investigations into how the response to the initial cases was botched.

“Governor Charlie Baker said that he did not know about the outbreak until March 29, by which point several veterans had died from the disease and scores more had been infected. Baker has said that he was “appalled” by the lack of reporting from the facility and that his office moved quickly to deploy the National Guard after learning of the situation. He quickly placed superintendent Bennett Walsh on paid administrative leave.

But Walsh, who was appointed by Baker in May 2016 to oversee the facility, disputes the governor’s account. He said he provided daily updates to state officials, including his direct supervisor, Department of Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena, after the first veteran tested positive and he requested additional staff support as the virus spread. Urena has declined to comment on the outbreak.

The crisis has prompted four separate investigations by Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, the federal Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and State Inspector General Glenn Cuhna. The latter is a continuation of an unrelated investigation launched by the state watchdog at the end of January and expanded to include the circumstances leading to the coronavirus crisis. It is unclear what initially prompted the initial investigation.”

VT Told Ya’ So: 68 Dead (so far) at Mass. Veterans Home

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