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Two Charged in Connection to Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 Outbreak; Brigham & Women’s Sees Cluster Among Staff and Patients [COVID-19 Weekly Update]

There were fourteen new COVID-19 cases this week in the Downtown, North End, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay neighborhoods, according to the Boston Public Health Commission’s weekly report through September 24th. Visits to the Emergency Department for COVID-19-like-illness decreased from 2.6% to 2.1%.

The City of Boston reported 16,924 total cases with 410 new cases this week according to Boston’s COVID-19 tracking dashboardThe City reported two new deaths this week with the total number of deaths standing at 762.

According to the state’s new weekly reporting on case counts in each city/town, Boston was shown to have an average daily incidence rate of 7.9 per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. This rate has slowly been rising in the past weeks, placing the City in danger of reaching the “red zone”. Currently, Boston is shaded within the yellow and reaching the “red zone” would indicate a daily incidence rate of more than eight cases per 100,000 residents.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently identified a COVID-19 cluster traced to two inpatient units within the hospital. To date, the hospital has tested ninety-eight employees with eleven testing positive and has tested fifty patients with eight testing positive.

The case number is expected to increase as there are currently 445 individuals awaiting testing. The hospital is still investigating the source of the outbreak.

Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director David Clinton of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home have been indicted by the state Attorney General’s office in connection to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that lead to the death of 76 residents of the facility. Following an investigation of the facility’s response to an outbreak of cases, Attorney General Maura Healey has criminally charged the two defendants on neglect charges.

Walsh and Clinton are being charged on five counts each and will be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court at a later date. The charges are primarily focused on a decision on March 27th to consolidate two dementia units into one, which placed symptomatic patients, patients with confirmed COVID-19 test results, and asymptomatic patients together in close proximity.

The Attorney General’s office “alleges that these decisions, which were ultimately the responsibility of Walsh and Clinton, were reckless and increased the likelihood that asymptomatic veterans at [Holyoke Soldiers’ Home] would contract COVID-19 and put them at higher risk of death and harm.”

Massachusetts has 127,317 total confirmed positive cases, according to the most recent dataThere were 2,747 new COVID-19 cases reported this week. There have been 9,160 total deaths with 101 new deaths this week.