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At a Massachusetts home for aging veterans, nearly 70 residents have been infected with the coronavirus.
According to AP News, this is the deadliest known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the U.S.
Edward Lapointe, whose father-in-law lives at the home and had a mild case of the virus said, “It’s horrific.”
“These guys never had a chance.”
Officials say that sixty-eight veteran residents who tested positive for the virus have died.
Another 82 residents and 81 more employees all tested positive for the virus.
The state’s top prosecutor is decided whether to bring legal action, as ait’s possible the residents were denied proper medical care.
Federal officials are investigating.
The home’s superintendent has been placed on administrative leave, though he defends his response and accused state officials of falsely claiming they were unaware of the severity of the problem.
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Bennett Walsh, the superintendent said earlier in the month that state officials knew the home was in “crisis mode” when it came to staffing shortages.
Walsh says officials were notified early and often about the contagion at the faciltity.
Joan Miller, a nurse at the facility said, “Veterans were on top of each other,” she said. “We didn’t know who was positive and who was negative and then they grouped people together and that really exacerbated it even more,” said Miller, who spoke through a mask during a break from her job at the facility.
“That’s when it really blew up,” she said.
More from AP News:
Staffing problems that plagued the home for years contributed to the virus spreading like wildfire, said Joan Miller, a nurse at the home.
Because staffing was so tight, workers from one unit were constantly moving to other units to help out — and bringing their germs with them, she said. At one point, a unit was shut down because there wasn’t enough staff to operate it, and those veterans were moved into close quarters in other parts of the building, she said.
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The situation is now “somewhat contained” because there are so few veterans living there, Miller said. There were nearly 230 residents living at the home in late March and only about 100 remained on Monday, The Boston Globe reported.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.