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The coronavirus has swept through the Long Island State Veterans Home, killing 46 vets and sickening 51 others, according to a report Friday.
“This COVID-19 is like the most wicked terrorist you could ever face,” executive director Fred Sganga told the paper.
“Who's got it? Who doesn't have it?” he said. “It's almost like an impossible battle.”
The nursing home fears nine others vets may have been infected. They are awaiting test results, Newsday reported.
The facility in Stony Brook has 350 beds and 114 employees, 53 of whom have tested positive.
“Similar to the other 156 State Veterans Homes in the United States, about 90% of our residents are men,” Sganga said in a letter this week to the families of residents. “Many of these men reside at the Home for a significant amount of time. Our staff continues to mourn the loss of our residents, as these Heroes have taught us over the years about bravery, courage and honor.”
Sganga told Newsday his nursing home and others are scrambling for personal protective equipment like masks, disposable gowns and face shields.
“The story that has to be told is that in the big spectrum of things, nobody's really put nursing homes high on the PPE list,” he said. “And we should have been one of the first ones to be put on that list, in terms of the vulnerable population that we're caring for.”
Newsday reported interviewing the daughter of 99-year-old resident John Malone, a Navy vet, who was infected with the virus and taken to Stony Brook University Hospital in need of oxygen.
Kathy Caruso complained that the home was slow to isolate those who were infected.
“I kept saying, isolate before it’s too late,” she told the paper. “You can’t just assume everybody’s going to get this.”
But not everyone was displeased with how they handled the outbreak.
Resident Robert Honadel, a 75-year-old Navy veteran, tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend, Newsday reported.
“They take care of these men like family,” his daughter, Kristen Kaplan, told the paper. “They laugh with us, they cry with us. There’s no doubt in my mind they do everything they can do to protect them.”
She added, “Their transparency and honesty with what’s been happening is above and beyond."