Federal officials delivering help to 2 private nursing homes

April 6, 2020 GMT
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Two men wear masks to protect themselves against COVID-19 as they walk around Castle Island, Monday, April 6, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Two men wear masks to protect themselves against COVID-19 as they walk around Castle Island, Monday, April 6, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Federal officials are delivering help to two private nursing homes in Massachusetts.

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs will provide the assistance, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie said Sunday at a White House briefing.

A spokeswoman for the department said Monday that at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one team of VA nurses and certified nursing assistants has been deployed to the Hunt Nursing Home in Danvers and another team has been deployed to the Charlwell Nursing Home in Norwood.

A total of 12 VA staffers have been deployed.


Also Monday, state officials said 25 residents have died at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in recent days in one of the deadliest outbreaks of the virus in a veteran’s home in the nation.

State health officials have confirmed 18 of the residents tested positive for COVID-19. Another 59 residents and 31 staffers have tested positive.

The superintendent of the state-run facility failed to disclose the deaths for days and has been replaced by Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, which also brought in the state National Guard and launched an investigation into the deaths.

Three residents also died at the Chelsea Solider’s Home. Fourteen residents and seven staff members have also tested positive.

The two facilities are state-run and licensed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.



The number of people in Massachusetts who have died from COVID-19 rose to 260 Monday, an increase of 29 deaths since Sunday, as the number of residents who have tested positive neared 14,000, according to the Department of Public Health.

More than 1,200 have been hospitalized since the outbreak’s start. More than 76,000 have been tested.

Baker cautioned against drawing conclusions about a trend in the number of deaths based on reporting over just one or two days.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, pneumonia, or death.



Legislative leaders are planning a virtual economic roundtable to explore how the Massachusetts economy is faring during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The event will be streamed for the public Tuesday at 10 a.m. on the Legislature’s website.


Businesses deemed nonessential have shuttered their doors and restaurants are only offering take-out or delivery. The income tax filing deadline for residents has been extended to July 15.

The state Department of Revenue reported Friday that preliminary revenue collections for March came in 3.2% ahead of projections. For the fiscal year through March, revenues totaled $21.06 billion, 4.3% more than the same fiscal year-to-date period in 2019.

Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder said future revenues are likely to show the impact of the shutdown, “including the regular sales, meals, and room taxes deferrals the commonwealth has adopted, as well as the extension of the personal income tax filing and payment deadline.”

The roundtable will include Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan and the Democratic chairs of the Senate and House Committees of Ways and Means — Sen. Michael Rodrigues and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz.



Gov. Charlie Baker and the state’s first lady Lauren Baker have announced a new initiative to help Massachusetts residents whose lives have been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

Laruen Baker said Monday that the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief is being launched with the help of the One8 Foundation which is teaming up with philanthropists, business leaders, banks, and nonprofits. Laruen Baker said the fund has already raised $13 million.

The fund is intended to help health care professionals, first responders and other essential workers in addition to households disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, immigrant and undocumented individuals, people with disabilities, the homeless and people experiencing food insecurity.