Three more veterans have died in the last 24 hours at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, bringing the facility’s death toll to 47.
Of those residents, 38 tested positive for the coronavirus, 8 tested negative and 1 test result is not known, the state’s Office of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.
The Soldiers’ Home, a state-run health care facility for veterans, is now the center of two investigations after a growing number of deaths and accusations from the staff that management did not properly protect those inside.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are conducting a joint investigation to determine whether the facility “violated the rights of residents by failing to provide them adequate medical care generally, and during the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a statement from the agencies.
Gov. Charlie Baker has also called for an independent investigation by attorney Mark W. Pearlstein, which will focus on “the events inside the facility that led to” the deaths, and “on management and organizational oversight of the COVID-19 response.”
The center said Wednesday that they’re “in communication with the VA Health Care System and the Holyoke Medical Center to offer potential alternative locations for short-term care for veteran residents,” but “the majority of families declined transfers to VA locations.”
“Strong staff-to-resident ratios have been achieved thanks in large part to the presence of the Massachusetts National Guard trained medical and operational staff,” the center added.