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55 infected, 3 dead amid coronavirus outbreak at state-run veterans home in East Feliciana

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JACKSON - More than 50 people at a veterans home in East Feliciana Parish, including residents and employees, have been infected with the coronavirus in a matter of weeks.

State officials confirmed Wednesday that 33 residents at LA Veterans Home in Jackson have tested positive for the virus since Aug. 14, when the facility recorded its first case among its residents.

Three of those veterans infected with the virus have died as of Wednesday. Five of the residents who contracted COVID-19 have recovered thus far.

Additionally, the state says 22 employees at the home have tested positive for the virus since the start of August.

Dr. Roslin Growe said her brother who fought in the Vietnam War is currently in the facility. Thomas Heyward, 72, is fighting to stay well from an invisible enemy. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions ending visitation policies, Growe would routinely visit her brother.

"We are very close," Growe said. "I would see him several times per week."

Staff says the home is in its thirteenth week of testing in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health and Office of Public Health. Residents and employees at the facility are being tested on a weekly basis.

The Louisiana Office of Veteran's Affairs was not available for an interview but said all CDC and state guidelines are being followed.

Growe believes if that's the case there wouldn't be the type of increase that the facility is seeing now.

"If you are following CDC guidelines, to me there wouldn't be this kind of a surge or an outbreak," Growe said.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs website, the site has 161 bed spaces.


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