CHELSEA (CBS) – This week, an independent investigator uncovered huge problems at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where 76 veterans died. Now some lawmakers want to know if the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home shares some of the same problems.
At 95, George Desererio, a retired Army sergeant, survived World War II and most recently the covid-19 Outbreak at the Chelsea Home. His daughter, Karen Leffler, says the Purple Heart recipient and Bronze Star medalist is doing excellent.
Just last week George was able to visit with his daughters. But other families have not been as fortunate. The Suffolk County District Attorney is already investigating the now 42 deaths at the facility. Thirty-one were covid related.
On Friday, Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren along with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley sent a letter to Governor Baker calling for an independent investigation into the Chelsea coronavirus deaths.
Earlier this week, the governor praised the superintendent of the home, Cheryl Poppe, and named her the acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“She is by all accounts a terrific leader and a terrific administrator and for years has done a spectacular job in Chelsea,” Baker said. “I have full confidence in Cheryl Poppe.”
George’s daughter Karen says his care has been very good at the home, but sees the value in learning about what happened and if more could have been done to stop the spread. “I think an investigation is well worth the time, effort and money,” Karen said. “I don’t think it will hurt, if anything some good will definitely come from this. My dad and all of these vets certainly deserve it.”
The state says Chelsea aggressively responded to covid-19 and will hire an infection control specialist to review the facilities procedures.