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Soldiers' Homes Resume Visits After Virus Outbreaks

The Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. (Miriam Wasser/WBUR)
The Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. (Miriam Wasser/WBUR)

Massachusetts’ two state-run soldiers’ homes are resuming visits this week after they became hot spots for the coronavirus.

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will begin allowing visits outdoors starting Monday while the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will begin allowing them Tuesday.

The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services says all veteran residents and staff have been retested in preparation for resuming limited visitation.

Eight resident tested positive for COVID-19 at the Holyoke home and six at the Chelsea home as of Friday, the office said.

State officials say recreational activities, including supervised time outdoors, have also resumed for veterans at the Holyoke home, which was the site of one of the deadliest outbreaks of the virus in a nursing home in the nation. Veterans are also being trained to use iPad, which are being used for regular family communication through video chat, they said.

As of Friday, 76 veterans at the Holyoke home and 31 veterans living at the Chelsea home had died from the virus during the pandemic.

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