Health officials test all residents at Burlington complex, Vt. Veterans' Home

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont health officials Monday said comprehensive coronavirus testing is now underway at two facilities with large senior populations -- the Vermont Veterans' Home in Bennington and Decker Towers in Burlington.

Everyone who lives and works at the Burlington Housing Authority's Decker Towers is being tested to prevent an outbreak. It comes after one resident died of unknown causes and another resident tested positive.

"We take extra precaution because this is a senior living facility. The fact coupled with a self reported COVID-19 case in that facility has led us to the conclusion that we needed to begin testing of the entire facility," said Vt. Human Services Secretary Mike Smith Monday.

The Health Department says everyone who lives at Decker Towers took a coronavirus test on Sunday or Monday.

"They did it yesterday, and they're all done," said Joseph Delucchi, a resident of the building, which includes many seniors.

At least 140 people live there. Housing Authority officials didn't respond to calls for the total population of residents and staff.

Residents say the testing was conducted floor-by-floor, room-by-room, to create minimal disruption. "When they got to your floor they came around and knocked on your door and told you it was your turn and you went out, sat in a chair and they used a swab, and that was it," Delucchi said.

He says he is healthy and happy that everyone was tested. He was unsure what happens next. "We already know that there is one here that is positive and I don't know what they're doing with her. She's still in her apartment," Delucchi said.

Health officials say the test results should be back by Wednesday morning.

Testing at the Veterans' Home also began Monday for all 122 residents and 200 staff. An employee there last month tested positive and immediately began a quarantine at home. Since then, that employee has had two negative tests.