Third suit filed in fatal veterans home COVID-19 outbreak

A third wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo that has killed 27 residents.

Kona attorney Jeffrey Foster filed the civil suit Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court on behalf of Tracy Bennedsen, Margaret Robinson and Roberta Plancich, sisters of 73-year-old Stephan Plancich of Ka‘u, who died Sept. 17 of a COVID-19 infection received at the facility.

Defendants in the case include Avalon Health Care Group and several of its subsidiaries; Tina Irwin, Avalon’s regional vice president for Hawaii; and governmental “Doe” entities.

Report: Hilo veterans home employee stayed on the job for 3 days after COVID-19 exposure

The coronavirus outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo may have begun with an employee who worked ― despite being linked to a large cluster.

That conclusion was included in a state Health Department report that seeks to understand what contributed to one of the deadliest outbreaks in the state.

The state Office of Health Care Assurance released its findings Friday following a month-long inspection of the home, where 71 residents and 35 employees have tested positive for the virus since August. Twenty-seven of those residents have died.

Utah-based Avalon Healthcare is no longer in charge of the veterans home, but the scope of its damage is severe.

3 more deaths, 87 new cases

HONOLULU — State Department of Health officials Friday reported three additional coronavirus-related deaths on O‘ahu and 87 new infections statewide, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 142 deaths and 12,601 cases.

There were no new cases on Kaua‘i.

The three O‘ahu fatalities were a man “who was 80 or older” and two women, both in the 60-to-69-year-old age group. All three had underlying medical conditions and had been in the hospital when they died, according to health officials.

Family seeks answers on a father’s final days battling COVID-19 at veterans home

From gently cradling his first grandchild to being a source of support on special days, family meant everything to Chris Drayer.

Now his sons say they’re honoring that legacy by making it their mission to reveal the circumstances surrounding the 70-year-old’s death.

Dayer was the third veteran to die at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, where a total of 27 residents have now died after contracting COVID-19.

Family sues Hilo nursing home operator after coronavirus-related death of Vietnam War veteran

Big Island attorney Jeffrey Foster has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the sons of the late Chris Drayer, who died after contracting COVID-19 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.

The suit, filed this morning in Hilo Circuit Court, names Noah Bennett-Drayer and Daniel Bennett-Drayer as plaintiffs. Among the defendants are Avalon Health Care, several affiliates and Avalon Regional Vice President for Hawaii Tina Irwin.

As Death Toll At Hilo Veteran’s Home Mounts, Family Calls For Criminal Investigation

As the COVID-19 death toll at Hilo’s Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home continues to mount, one family of a resident at the facility is demanding a criminal investigation.

Mary Benevides says prior to contracting COVID-19, her dad was always smiling, joking and doting on his grandchildren.

“He was happy,” she said. “He was funny. You know just always happy to hear from his family.”

But now she says all of that’s changed.

“He’s not my dad. Like how my dad was,” said Benevides. “Every phone call. Every text message makes your heart stop. You never know if it’s going to be that call.”

It’s been that way since early September when Walter Santos was diagnosed with COVID-19. The virus exacerbated his once manageable ailments, sending the 75-year-old downhill fast.

Honoka‘a Woman Indicted in Connection to Foster Child’s Death

“For the last two and a half years, the Garett-Garcia family has been stuck in a purgatory, waiting for Fabian’s killer to be held legally accountable for Fabian’s death. While the legal charges for the foster mother confirm the family’s worst fears, it also serves as an indictment for the foster care system on Hawaii Island. The family hopes that Fabian’s death will result in long overdue changes to the foster care system and a pledge of the necessary financial resources to protect children.”