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Chelsea Soldiers' Home resident gets COVID-19 for second time

The Chelsea Soldier's Home. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Elise Amendola/Associated Press

A resident of the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea recently tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time, officials said Monday.

The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services confirmed the patient’s repeat diagnosis in a statement.

“A veteran resident of the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea who was clinically recovered from COVID-19 as per CDC guidance again experienced COVID-related symptoms and was transferred to Cambridge Health Alliance for treatment and tested positive,” the statement said. “In addition, the resident is being treated for other medical issues unrelated to COVID-19. The Soldiers' Home medical team is making all clinical decisions following the latest CDC and Massachusetts DPH guidance, which continues to evolve as the medical community learns more about this novel virus.”

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Since the positive test, the statement continued, the home "has taken maximum precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all residents and staff, including testing all residents who reside on the same floor as the positive veteran and all staff members who were determined to be in contact with the positive resident.”

The agency said the resident was tested for COVID-19 on Sept. 18 at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Everett Hospital, and the test came back positive the following day. The resident had previously recovered from COVID-19 in May.

Residents who live on the same floor were also tested Sept. 18, and those tests all came back negative, officials said. In addition, authorities said, all staff who worked directly with the veteran have been identified and are being tested.

All staff are required to wear personal protective gear in resident care areas, and out of an abundance of caution, staff working on the infected veteran’s floor will wear N95 masks instead of surgical masks, according to health and human services.

The home has been hit hard by the virus, which has killed at least 31 residents since the start of the pandemic.

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The Mass. Department of Public Health said Wednesday in its weekly COVID report on state-run facilities that 43 Chelsea patients have recovered from the virus. The home currently has 228 patients, according to the DPH report.

In May, the office of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins posted an online memorial to the home’s residents who perished from the disease.

"They called the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea home. ... They survived an armed conflict only to die during a global pandemic,” Rollins said in a May statement. “In these unprecedented times, when a disproportionate number of our elders are stricken by the pandemic, we must honor them and, in particular, those who served our nation.”

Rollins continued, "Today, we honor and remember their sacrifice. Tomorrow, and every day thereafter, we must strive to live a life worthy of that sacrifice. This is how we will honor their memory. It is the very least that they deserve.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.