About 63 staff members also tested positive and 52 have recovered since then. Bashir said 11 of those cases are still active.
“I hope … we can do better through them.”
The Kentucky Veterans Center has managed to avert an outbreak for months, screening employees and veterans daily since March and running immediate tests for anyone showing symptoms.
But amid the re-emergence of Covid-19 across American communities in October and an explosion of new cases in Kentucky, the virus leaked into the center and spread like wildfire.
“It started with three veterans and seven employees, which quickly turned into a bigger outbreak,” the governor said earlier this week, and said the rate of positive tests now appears to be declining.
In late October, the facility began running daily antigen tests “in every work shift for nursing and domestic workers in every unit,” the governor said. In addition to these measures, PCR tests were performed twice a week.
“From the start, this facility was following all instructions,” Bashir said. The Department of Veterans Affairs, its staff, and the Disaster Emergency Management personnel have been wonderful. “
“But because we Kentucky have failed to stop the spread of the community so far, we cannot keep it away from places like this.”
“This is difficult,” Bashir added. “I hope … we can do better through them.”
“Keep praying for our wonderful warrior crew and veterans,” the statement reads. “We feel very sad about our losses. Please wear masks and make smart and safe choices while going about your daily life. What we do in society is important.”
State reports record the number of cases
On Friday, the governor announced a record number of new cases, with more than 3,170 infections. The state has also seen the most deaths in a single day since the start of the pandemic, with 25 Kentucky residents lost to the virus.
“At the moment, if you think you don’t know someone, at least close to someone who has been lost due to Covid, you’re not listening,” the governor said during his press conference on Friday. “Please, open your ears, open your eyes and open your heart and you will feel the sadness and difficulty present which should compel us all to do the right thing.”
The right thing, as Bashir previously said, is to wear a face mask.
“More people wear masks, then there are fewer old people and fewer veterans,” he said on Monday. “With all the sacrifices they made, wearing a mask for them seemed like a very small sacrifice.”