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WARRENSBURG — Following an outbreak of COVID-19 in various Missouri Veterans Homes, Gov. Mike Parson ordered an external review of all the Veterans Homes facilities, including Missouri Veterans Home-Warrensburg.

According to a press release from the Missouri Veterans Commission, after months of few or no COVID-19 cases among veterans at Missouri’s Veterans Homes, five of the seven homes reported active veteran cases over the course of September while six of the seven homes reported active staff member cases.

MVC stated as of Oct. 2, Missouri Veterans Home-Warrensburg had 12 veterans and four staff members with active COVID-19 cases.

MVC Strategic Communications Director Jamie Melchert said as of Thursday, Oct. 15, the Warrensburg facility has seven active cases among veterans in the home.

Melchert added that there are currently three staff members with active COVID-19, who are in isolation at their own residences.

Melchert said seven veterans have died due to COVID-19 at the Warrensburg location from September until now.

Following the developments in Missouri Veterans Homes announced on Oct. 2, Parson ordered an external review of all seven Homes and their COVID-19 operations.

“We have been fighting COVID-19 for over seven months now and we have learned a lot about how to fight the virus since March,” Parson stated in a press release. “The recent sudden positive case growth among staff and residents in our Veterans Homes, and most importantly, the tragic loss of lives of veterans in our care are, in my opinion, unacceptable.”

Parson instructed MVC Chairman Timothy Noonan to conduct an external review of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes to assess their performance in regards to COVID-19 prevention and identify what steps, if any, should be taken to improve their management of the virus.

Melchert said the MVC commissioners selected Armstrong Teasdale, of St. Louis, as the outside firm to undertake the external review of the MVC.

MVC staff were informed of this selection on Monday, Oct. 12, and the investigation has begun with staff interviews across the facilities.

Parson also directed the deployment of the new Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests to Missouri Veterans Homes to support immediate comprehensive testing of all staff and residents under state care.

An initial shipment of 2,400 tests was delivered to the MVC headquarters on Oct. 2 to be distributed to priority Veterans Homes.

Melchert said the Warrensburg facility has received antigen and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and they are being utilized in testing procedures.

"The Missouri Veterans Commission Warrensburg Home and all its Homes are following best practices for fighting COVID-19, including using daily testing using PCR and antigen testing; proper use of PPE and enhanced PPE training; cleaning and disinfecting and enhanced training in these areas; infection control inspections and additional training; and additional supervision, including from central office leadership," Melchert said. "MVC is also utilizing medical staffing from the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MO DMAT-1)."

Staff Writer Dustin Steinhoff can be reached by emailing dustin.steinhoff@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.​

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