Coroner: One-third of all deaths in St. John Parish connected to nursing home for veterans in Reserve


Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home identified as cluster of coronavirus cases

RESERVE, La. (WDSU) – St. John the Baptist Parish is now recognized as an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with a high number of infections and deaths among a small population of residents. Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that the parish has the highest death rate from the virus per capita compared to all other counties in the United States.

St. John coroner, Dr. Christy Montegut said one-third of the deaths are connected to a nursing home for veterans in Reserve. He said at least seven people from the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home have died. He said the virus has killed at least 21 people parish-wide.

The Lousiana Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed the coroner’s account and added that 18 other residents have tested positive for the virus. In a statement, the department said: “The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs is in constant contact with all of our residents and their families, and has informed our families at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home that 18 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 either in our facility or at the hospital. Of those residents, six have passed away. We have also received information that one additional resident who passed away tested positive for COVID-19 after their death. This brings our total number of Southeast residents who passed away and have a known COVID-19 positive test result to seven. We continue to follow the recommended CDC and Louisiana Office of Public Health protocols in caring for each of our veterans at all five of our state-run veteran homes.”

The Louisiana Department of Health has identified Southeast Louisiana Veterans home as having a cluster of coronavirus cases. Thursday, the department reported 214 known cases of coronavirus and 14 deaths in St. John the Baptist. Dr. Montegut said the department’s reports lag a few days behind what the parish is reporting to the state.

By: Jennifer Crockett

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