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14 sick due to COVID-19 outbreak at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home

Officials say the impacted residents are mildly symptomatic, safely self-isolating, and following all health guidelines.

In this April 6, 2020, file photo, a tent is set up next to the entrance of the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File

More than a dozen residents at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

The cases were discovered during “routine testing” over the holiday weekend, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the state Department of Veterans’ Services.

“These cases are confined to the independent living residents who hold jobs or are in the community regularly,” the statement said. “Impacted residents are mildly symptomatic, are safely self-isolating, and following all guidelines from the Center for Disease and Prevention and the Department of Public Health. Leadership and staff continue to prioritize resident and staff health and safety and are adhering to infection control protocols and maintaining best practices for the safety of veteran residents and staff, and have increased regular surveillance testing.” 

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As of Tuesday, 14 residents tested positive and are isolating. 

The home’s dorm residents are independent, may spend time outside in the community or have jobs, and are not supervised throughout the day. They live separately from the long-term care facility.

Ninety-nine percent of the dorm residents are vaccinated and 90 percent have been boosted.

All staff at the home are vaccinated and boosted, while 99 percent of long-term care residents are vaccinated and have received their first booster.

Testing is available at all times for residents and staff upon request. Surveillance testing has been increased to three times a week for all staff and residents.

The Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke was the site of a major outbreak of COVID-19 in spring 2020. At least 76 residents died after testing positive. It’s thought to be one of the worst outbreaks in a long-term care facility across the country.

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