Claremore Veterans Center Reports 10 Dead This Month in COVID Outbreak

Jul 28, 2020

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The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to get a handle on a COVID-19 outbreak at its Claremore Veterans Center.

As of Tuesday, 62 residents and 21 workers there had tested positive for the coronavirus since July 1, and 10 residents have died.

Executive Director Joel Kintsel said ODVA has 1,200 beds in its facilities across Oklahoma.

"Out of this huge number of veterans that we care for, we’ve only had 10. That’s something we’re very sad about and concerned about, and we are doing everything we can to manage this and get this stopped. And I feel like we are achieving success in that," Kintsel said.

Kintsel said he state health department was on site for an assessment of the outbreak last week but did not issue any citations.

"Based on our contact tracing, we believe that the most likely source for the virus was an asymptomatic employee who at the time did not know that they had the virus and unknowingly passed it on to a resident," Kintsel said.

Seven residents are being cared for on the Claremore Veteran Center's third floor, which has been converted into a COVID-unit. The rest have been admitted to hospitals in Claremore, Muskogee and Oklahoma City. Residents will not return to the Claremore Veterans Center until they have a negative coronavirus test.

Kintsel said three residents have recovered from the illness. Workers who tested positive are in isolation.