• An elderly home in Massachusetts tallied 80 deaths from a coronavirus outbreak in the facility
  • Other elderly homes become highly vulnerable to COVID-19
  • The federal government has only recently required long-term care centers to release reports of COVID-19 infections and fatalities

The latest casualties of the coronavirus are 80 veterans who died in an elder care facility in Massachusetts. It has become the “deadliest known outbreak” in a center that houses the most vulnerable people in this pandemic — the elderly.

Fox News reported that at least 82 veterans and 81 employees have additionally tested positive for COVID-19. All of them are from the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where the massive deaths were recorded. Federal officials are now investigating what led to the deadly outbreak to identify whether the residents did not receive proper care or it's due to other potential causes.

Investigation revealed that limited staffing gave rise to workers traveling to other units to help, forcing veterans to stay close to each other. This also meant that social distancing rules were not observed properly. As a result, most of the veterans mingled with others, without proper knowledge of who was already infected, and who wasn’t.

According to SFGate, the elderly care sector is among the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak. Craig Cornett, CEO and president of the California Association of Health Facilities, singled out nursing homes as one of the priorities of the state going forward.

He pointed out statistics where one out of five coronavirus deaths were of a person living in a long-term senior care facility. They do come in bunches, such as in the case of the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center, where 13 residents have already died. The Orinda Care Center, meanwhile, reported four residents who died from coronavirus.

The number of residents in long-term senior care facilities is expected to skyrocket with the availability of rapid testing. There are still measures to stop the coronavirus from spreading further, like wearing PPEs for the medical staff and more stringent measures among the elderly community.

Currently, there is no official tally of nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the country. Meanwhile, the federal government has only recently handed down guidelines to the 15,000 nursing homes and more across the nation to report numbers of positive residents, as well as the deaths attributed to the virus. However, the count has yet to be published.

An elderly home worker is tested for novel coronavirus near Paris
An elderly home worker is tested for novel coronavirus near Paris AFP / ALAIN JOCARD