Two residents at the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts have died of the new coronavirus, officials announced Wednesday, a day after state officials reported more than a dozen deaths at a veterans' facility in Holyoke.
A source told NBC10 Boston and NECN earlier Wednesday afternoon that a second resident had died. This came hours after the facility confirmed a fatal case connected with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services later confirmed the fatality, in addition to two more deaths at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke — the 14th and 15th overall at that facility.
"While every life lost to COVID-19 is a tragedy, these veterans lived long, full lives, and their service to our community will never be forgotten," a spokesperson with the department said in a statement.
The facility said four residents had been tested for the virus, including the fatal case it had reported. One other person had tested positive, the facility said. One test came back negative and the results of another were pending.
Two staff members had tested positive and the results of test on two other employees were pending, the facility said.
A spokesperson for the Chelsea Soldiers' Home issued a statement saying that the facility "followed appropriate reporting and protocols" for the COVID-19 incident and that they are taking actions to "mitigate the impact of the virus" on both residents and staff.
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"Protecting the health of our veteran residents, and our staff is the single most important part of the work of the Chelsea Soldiers' Home. COVID-19 cases in the Chelsea Soldiers' Home are being isolated, closely monitored, and tracked daily, and we are deeply saddened to report today that a resident of our community died of this infection," read a statement from the Chelsea Soldiers' Home spokesperson.
The developments came after Gov. Charlier Baker on Tuesday said 13 veterans had died at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, with about half of them so far testing positive for the new coronavirus.
Baker on Wednesday announced he had hired an independent lawyer to investigate the outbreak at the Holyoke facility.
The deaths are raising concerns about veterans and others at nursing facilities, where many may have underlying conditions, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As of Tuesday, Massachusetts had reported 6,620 cases of COVID-19, including 89 deaths.