HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM -- The head of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is now on paid administrative leave and the state is implementing changes since the discovery of a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 outbreak in the facility.

We went to the State House on Tuesday for answers.

The newest numbers from the state show two more veterans have died in the course of 24 hours.

There are now 13 resident deaths.

  • 6 of which tested positive for COVID-19
  • 5 are pending test results
  • 1 is negative
  • 1 is unknown

In addition:

  • 10 veteran residents have tested positive for COVID-19
  • 25 veteran residents pending test results
  • 7 staff tested positive

While in Boston today, we asked state officials whether or not the Soldiers’ Home attempted to conceal the deaths from the public.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Marylou Sudders, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, addressed the deadly coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

Baker said a clinical command center has been established to stop the spread of the virus - with every resident and staff member being tested. 

“We're also deploying a wide variety of available resources to help them. This includes the National Guard, resources from the state's personal protective equipment supply and medical professionals from other state facilities,” Baker explained.

As the cases continue to climb, Western Mass News asked officials whether or not the Soldiers’ Home had properly reported the veteran deaths to the state.

“When the individuals died and when were they tested, who was notified and their family and that is, as the governor said, what we really need to understand. Also, in terms of just notification up the chain, if you would, there’s a critical incident reporting process in Health and Human Services and these were not reported up through that,” Sudders explained.

Cheryl Turgeon, whose father is at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, said, “He’s listless, he’s fatigued, he’s very confused.”

Turgeon spoke to Western Mass News over Facetime and said that her father is starting to feel ill.

“It’s unconscionable how it got to this level,” Turgeon noted.

The state has set-up a hotline to improve communication between the families and their loved ones.

Turgeon said she feels as though veterans, now locked in yet another deadly battle, have been forgotten.

“These guys are not expendable. I don’t care what age they are,” Turgeon noted.

Western Mass News has reached out to the Soldiers’ Home for a response.

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