Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is launching an investigation into a nursing facility in Holyoke where more than a dozen veterans have died amid an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
As of Thursday, 32 veterans had died at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, according to NBC affiliate WWLP. Twenty-eight of those victims tested positive for COVID-19 while four tested negative.
"Our office is launching an investigation into Holyoke Soldiers' Home to find out [what] went wrong at this facility and determine if legal action is warranted. My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones under these tragic circumstances," the attorney general tweeted Wednesday.
Gov. Charlie Baker previously announced he had hired an independent lawyer to investigate the facility.
The deaths resulted in Bennett Walsh, superintendent of the facility, being placed on paid administrative leave.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has accused Walsh of failing to report the deaths to authorities in timely fashion, and says Walsh and Francisco Urena, the secretary of Veterans’ Services, failed to act with urgency to the situation.
The deaths have raised concerns about veterans and other people living in senior facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Two residents at the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts have also died of the new coronavirus. Additionally, seven residents have died from coronavirus at a nursing home in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
A memorial service was held on Wednesday to honor a long-time resident at the Holyoke facility who had died. Albert St. Peter, 83, who had served in the Army and died late March, did not have many family members, so members of the facility along with the National Guard came together to help lay him to rest.