Employees at a veteran's hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts say that their bosses tried to cover up an outbreak of COVID-19 that has now killed 13 military vets.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that workers at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home say that the hospital did not quarantine patients that were experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and allowed them to continue spending time in common areas.
The hospital then allegedly compounded this mistake by not quarantining the sick veteran's friends, and then combined two separate units at the hospital into one large unit after many employees started calling out sick -- thus exposing even more vets to the disease.
"It’s just complete chaos," one certified nursing assistant tells the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said that he knew there was trouble after his office's phone messages to the hospital went unreturned for days. When he finally did get through to hospital superintendent Bennett Walsh this past Sunday, he learned that eight soldiers had died in the span of mere days.
Morse was even more shocked to see that Walsh downplayed the severity of the health crisis at his hospital.
"There was a clear lack of urgency on that phone call," he said. "We were repeatedly told these were people who had underlying health conditions."