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State reports 67 employees at Soldiers’ Home sick with COVID-19

  • The Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. Photographed on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2020 6:47:04 PM

HOLYOKE — Amid a COVID-19 outbreak at the Soldiers’ Home that has left at least 18 veterans dead, state officials reported Tuesday that 67 employees of the facility have now tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

The figures released by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services show that the number of staff testing positive for the virus has more than doubled in the past day.

After days of increasing deaths among veteran residents, no new veterans have died in the past day. Twenty-five veterans have died since March 25, 18 of whom tested positive for the virus. Three more have test results pending.

The National Guard continues to work on site to help with staffing amid the ballooning number of employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

An HHS spokesperson said Tuesday that an “enhanced staffing pattern” is being developed. The Soldiers’ Home has also brought on additional contracted housekeeping staff to improve infection control, the agency said.

But with many staffers now out with the virus, the impact has been significant on them and their families, said Cory Bombredi, an organizer with SEIU Local 888, the union that represents many employees at the Soldiers’ Home.

“It’s heart-wrenching because they’re bringing it home to their families,” Bombredi said.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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