HOLYOKE (CBS) – The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is suspending visits after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
The home had one of the worst long-term care facility outbreaks in the country when at least 76 residents died from the virus, and 84 others were infected. Family visits were not allowed during the outbreak but resumed on June 16.
On Monday, a resident who had recovered from COVID-19 tested positive again. That person lived on a unit dedicated to clinically recovered patients. All residents on that unit are now being quarantined.
“The Home is immediately taking necessary precautions and is performing full-house testing with support from the Massachusetts National Guard, and temporarily suspending all visitation,” a spokesperson with Executive Office of Health and Human Services told WBZ-TV in a statement Tuesday.
Denise Daviau’s heart sank when she read the news in an email from the home.
“’Oh no.’ That was the first thought. ‘Oh not again,'” said Daviau. “They are supposed to have the best and the most infection control. So is surprising to me.”
Infectious disease doctor Shira Doron from Tufts New England Medical Center said more lab tests are needed to see if the patient is still contagious. “It’s not surprising that one day they might be positive, one day negative, one day positive,” she explained.
Veterans advocate Steve Connor said, “We are hoping this is an isolated incident and that they caught it in time, and that there won’t be any significant spread.”
Daviau is concerned about her loved one who has been off-site for months though. They are asymptomatic but still test positive for coronavirus.
“Obviously it’s not enough, it’s not enough, they need to do more,” Daviau said about the home.
Earlier this month, the family of a veteran who died at the home filed a $176 million class-action lawsuit against those who were in charge of the facility.
Former Supt. Bennett Walsh has been on paid administrative leave since March and former Veterans Affairs Secretary Francisco Urena resigned in June.
There are still three ongoing federal and state investigations into what happened at the home.