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Massachusetts lawmakers want review of how Chelsea Soldiers' home handled virus

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 27, 2020

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BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation into another state-run soldiers' home that had a deadly outbreak of the coronavirus.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker Friday suggesting a review of the Chelsea Soldiers' Home could help save veterans' lives and prevent further infections.

They said the state's recently completed a review of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, where 76 veterans died and 84 others were infected in one of the worst nursing home outbreaks in the nation, produced "useful findings and recommendations."

The Republican governor announced a series of reforms this week after an investigation found Holyoke facility officials made "utterly baffling" decisions during the pandemic, including mixing infected and non-infected veterans in a dementia unit.

Warren, Markey and Pressley also asked the administration to verify the number of cases at the Chelsea facility. State officials say at least 31 residents died from the virus and at least 40 others were infected at the home.

The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees the facilities, said in a statement the Chelsea home "comprehensively prepared for and aggressively responded to COVID-19."

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