(CAMERON, Mo.) Another two residents of Cameron Veterans Home have died from COVID-19, according to state officials. The home has now lost a total of 10 veterans to the virus since the beginning of September.
Just in the last two weeks, the Cameron home jumped from two deaths at the facility to eight.
The virus has wreaked havoc as it spread through Missouri veteran's homes in the last two months. In total, 71 residents of Missouri veterans' homes died of COVID-19, according to numbers provided by Jaimie Melchart, spokesman for the Veterans Commission.
Nearly all of the state-run veterans' homes have been touched by the virus with five of the seven homes reporting deaths. There are no active cases or deaths reported by the St. Louis and Mexico veterans' homes.
Here are the number of veteran deaths by facility:
- Cameron Veterans Home: 10 deaths
- Cape Girardeau Veterans Home: 29 deaths
- Mt. Vernon Veterans Home: 9 deaths
- St. James Veterans Home: 16 deaths
- Warrensburg Veterans Home: 7 deaths
The outbreak at five of seven state-run veterans homes comes as Missouri logged a record 164,534 cases and 2,688 total deaths on Friday. The state remains a national coronavirus hotspot, according to recent White House briefings.
Since last week, officials report more staff have tested positive at the Cameron home and active veterans cases dropped by one.
The Commission reported the following cases, by home, as of Wednesday:
- Cameron Veterans Home: 34 veterans and 10 staff members have an active case; 20 staff members have recovered
- Cape Girardeau Veterans Home: 2 veterans have an active case; 44 staff members have recovered
- Mexico Veterans Home: no active cases; 2 staff members have recovered
- Mt Vernon Veterans Home: 12 veterans and 6 staff members have an active case; 21 staff members have recovered
- St. James Veterans Home: 12 veterans and 2 staff members have an active case; 18 staff members have recovered
- St. Louis Veterans Home: 2 staff members have an active case; 14 staff members have recovered.
- Warrensburg Veterans Home: 1 veteran and 1 staff member have an active case; 20 staff members have recovered.
Earlier this month, Gov. Mike Parson announced Missouri Veterans Homes will be subject to an outside review after reporting state-run homes had lost 41 veterans due to COVID-19. Since his announcement, another 20 veterans have died. According to a news release from the Governor's office, Parson had instructed the Veterans Commission Chairman Timothy Noonan, the head of the state agency to conduct the external review.
The MVC commissioners then turned around and selected Armstrong Teasdale, a St. Louis-based firm, to run an investigation of the practices and management of COVID-19 at the homes.
"The Missouri Veterans Commission Cameron Home and all its Homes are following best practices for fighting COVID-19, including using daily testing using PCR and antigen testing; proper use of PPE and enhanced PPE training; cleaning and disinfecting and enhanced training in these areas; infection control inspections and additional training; additional supervision, including from central office leadership. MVC is also utilizing medical staffing from the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MO DMAT-1)," Melchart wrote in an email Friday.
Access to the state veterans homes was restricted in early March by the Veterans Commission. MVC closed the facilities to visitors, vendors, and volunteers within days of state officials reporting the first COVID-19 cases in Missouri.