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Third Veterans Home resident dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

Coronavirus

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — A third resident at the R.I. Veterans Home has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The resident, who was 70 years old and had underlying health conditions, was the first person at the home to test positive for the virus, according to David Levesque, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

The unnamed resident was diagnosed on April 24.

“Currently, the home has 14 residents who have tested positive. All but one of those residents are not showing symptoms of the virus,” Levesque wrote in an email. “There have been approximately 28 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. About one-third of them have since returned to work or are about to return.”

Including the three who have died, 17 residents in all have tested positive.

EOHHS announced Thursday that two residents had died, who were also in their 70s and had underlying health conditions.

The Bristol facility, which is home to nearly 200 wartime veterans, previously quarantined anyone who lived near diagnosed residents, according to Levesque.

On Thursday, staff members who work at the R.I. Veterans Home, but asked not to be identified, told Target 12 the residents who contracted COVID-19 have been moved into two the home’s six “neighborhoods,” or units, over the weekend.

Several staff members have said there is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and it’s being shared by nurses and others who enter rooms of COVID-positive residents.

A resident who declined to be identified tells Target 12 there has been a shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants, and those who are there are often being forced to work overtime to maintain coverage.

During the daily briefing on Thursday, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said the Dept. of Health is working closely with the home to ensure adequate staffing and equipment.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

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