HOLYOKE (CBS) — Three more veterans have died and more have tested positive for coronavirus at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home, authorities said Thursday. That brings the death toll to 18 at the facility that is now being investigated by a former federal prosecutor.

“Today we are saddened to announce three additional deaths at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, and some additional COVID-19 positive residents at both homes,” the office of Health and Human Services said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the residents.”

A total of 23 veteran residents and seven staff members have tested positive.  All residents have now been tested for coronavirus and the staff is being tested as well.

The National Guard has been on site to support staffing needs and there’s a new clinical command structure. But the state expects there will be more infections and deaths because so many of the residents are old and have underlying illnesses.

Family members can check in on their loved ones by calling 413-552-4764 or emailing CommunicationsMailbox-HLY@Mass.gov.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has blamed overcrowding and a lack of proper patient isolation for the tragic deaths.

The superintendent of the facility, Bennett Walsh, was placed on administrative leave on Monday.

Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through Sunday as a tribute to the veterans.

 

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