‘Terrible tragedy’: Baker announces $56M settlement with families affected by COVID outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced that Massachusetts has reached a $56 million settlement in a class action lawsuit with families affected by a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in the spring of 2020.

“The COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was a terrible tragedy. While we know nothing can bring back those who were lost, we hope that this settlement brings a sense of closure to the loved ones of the veterans,” Baker said in a statement.

The agreement is subject to approval by the federal district court for Massachusetts.

Baker noted that the terms of the settlement will cover veterans who lived at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home between March 1, 2020, and June 23, 2020, and who became ill or died from the virus during that period.

As part of the settlement, estates of deceased veterans would receive a minimum award of $400,000 and veterans who contracted COVID but survived would receive a minimum of $10,000. 

Baker plans to file legislation seeking $56 million for the claims fund in the coming weeks.

An independent report ordered by Baker following the outbreak highlighted a series of “terrible errors” that were made by administrators. One staffer told investigators that she feared she was “walking vets to their death.”

At least 76 coronavirus-related deaths occurred during the outbreak.