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US Opens Probe of Soldiers' Retirement Home Over Poor COVID-19 Care - Justice Dept.

© REUTERS / US NAVYU.S. Army Specialist Fredrick Spencer assembles a T1 Hamilton ventilator in a mobile lab unit in the Javits New York Medical Station intensive care unit bay monitoring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in New York City, U.S. Apri 4, 2020
U.S. Army Specialist Fredrick Spencer assembles a T1 Hamilton ventilator in a mobile lab unit in the Javits New York Medical Station intensive care unit bay monitoring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in New York City, U.S. Apri 4, 2020 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government launched a civil-rights investigation of a retirement home for veterans in the state of Massachusetts following media reports of dozens of deaths of residents who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Justice announced in a press release on Friday.
"The investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) which gives the department the authority to investigate violations of the US Constitution and federal law that result from a ‘pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of such rights’ in state-run institutions, including nursing facilities. The federal civil investigation will be separate from any state or independent investigation," the release said.

Federal officials will join state investigators who began investigating Soldiers Home in the town of Holyoke earlier this week amid local media reports of a growing death toll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Thursday, 28 veterans who tested positive for the virus have died, officials told WCVB television, which also reported 69 veterans - more than half of the residents - have tested positive along with 68 members of the staff.

Retirement facilities and nursing homes throughout the United States have proved especially vulnerable during the pandemic due to the advanced age of residents and their proximity to each other.

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