Another 11 veterans living in Missouri veterans homes have died due to COVID-19 in the past week, bringing the total number of deaths to 67 since September 1.

Missourinet followed-up Tuesday with the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC), on the number of deaths since September, broken down by facility. The Missouri Veterans Commission reports 29 of the 67 deaths have been veterans living at the Cape Girardeau Veterans home. That’s in southeast Missouri. 15 veterans at the St. James home in southern Missouri have died.

The MVC reports nine deaths since September 1, at the Mount Vernon Veterans Home in southwest Missouri. There have been seven deaths each at the Cameron Veterans Home in northwest Missouri, and the Warrensburg home in western Missouri.

In response to questions from Missourinet on why the deaths have happened and if anything has changed at veterans homes, an MVC spokesman says they work with local county health departments to undertake contact tracing, adding that specific health information is not releasable under HIPPA provisions.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson told Capitol reporters last week that he acted immediately when he learned about the spike in deaths at veterans homes, ordering an external review. The governor says the box-in strategy is being used, which involves testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

MVC spokesman Jamie Melchert notes MVC commissioners selected St. Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale as the outside firm undertaking the external review of the Veterans Commission. He says the staff was informed of the selection on October 12, and the investigation is underway, with staff interviews at the homes. Melchert says no results are available, at this time.

Melchert also says outside visits are allowed at facilities that are COVID-free, such as the Mexico and St. Louis Veterans Homes.

The MVC website notes the Missouri veterans homes manage about 1,240 beds that provide long term skilled nursing care, in compliance with federal Department of Veterans Affairs regulations.

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