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11 Dead At Holyoke Soldiers' Home, 5 Test Positive For Coronavirus

HOLYOKE (CBS) – The superintendent of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke has been placed on leave after the deaths of 11 veteran residents. Five of the vets who died tested positive for COVID-19. Test results on five others are still pending. The cause of one death is unknown.

Eleven other residents at the home and five staff members have also tested positive for the coronavirus. Test results are pending for 25 more veteran residents.

"It is imperative that the Holyoke Soldiers' Home provide a safe environment for the veteran residents, and the dedicated staff who serve them," said Massachusetts Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Dan Tsai.

Superintendent Bennett Walsh was placed on administrative leave on Monday. Val Liptak, CEO of Western Massachusetts Hospital, will assume responsibility.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he was "heartbroken" by the deaths. "The loss of these residents to COVID-19 is a shuddering loss for us all," Baker tweeted.

The state has implemented an onsite clinical command team to respond to the outbreak. The National Guard has been requested to support on-site testing of residents at the soldiers' home.

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