40 vets dead in Ardmore Veterans Center COVID-19 outbreak

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:23 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Ardmore has claimed the lives of over three dozen former service members.

The veterans center has recorded 109 cases total of COVID-19 since mid-December, and there have been 40 COVID-19 related deaths- meaning one resident has died about every three days.

At the beginning of the outbreak the facility had 126 residents. As of Thursday, January 21, twelve residents out of the current 86 residents left, currently have the coronavirus.

”The discouraging thing is that the Ardmore Veterans Center didn’t have any cases of COVID until about the 8th or 11th of December,” said Oklahoma Senator Frank Simpson.

In December, the Oklahoma State Department of Health stepped in to provide vaccines for the veterans.

Senator Frank Simpson said 70% of residents in Veterans centers statewide have received a vaccine.

He says the remainder were unable to get the vaccine because of health conditions, or they potentially had COVID at the time of vaccine distribution.

”(We’re) trying to find a plan so we can test them for COVID. If they test negative, maybe do a series of two tests, and if they test negative for both, then we’ll start doing some admissions at the facility, in a very safe and cautious way” said Simpson.

He says they’re looking to increase safety measures so that more veterans can be admitted into the facility.

”The loss of life is tragic, my heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones, it’s the nature of this disease unfortunately, it prays upon the elderly, and it’s exactly what we’re seeing at the Ardmore center” said Simpson.

The VA told News 12 that as of Thursday, 57 veterans have recovered from the virus in the Ardmore facility.

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