BOSTON (CBS) – Staff members from the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home told lawmakers what it was like when one of the country’s deadliest coronavirus nursing home outbreaks hit.

Seventy-six veterans at the facility died from COVID-19 – one of the worst nursing home outbreaks in the country.

A legislative commission is now examining the outbreak.

Last week the commission heard from family members of residents. On Tuesday the workers told their stories.

“The second memory that seemed to push things into high gear and put the home on the road for help followed after I spoke to a nurse who described arriving to work and seeing the huge refrigerator truck at the entrance,” one employee testified. “Her description, and the image of bodies on cots alone right outside that building almost made me throw up.”

Staff members said a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing related issues also contributed to the outbreak.

The commission is looking at how the outbreak happened and whether there are any changes to make to prevent it from happening again.


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