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Massachusetts Veterans Affairs Secretary Francisco Urena Vacates Post

There's a change in leadership coming to the Massachusetts veterans affairs office, which oversees the soldiers’ home in Holyoke where one of the nation's deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred earlier this year.

There were multiple reports overnight and early Wednesday morning that Secretary Francisco Urena was asked to resign and is departing, and a source close to Urena told the News Service that he was being forced out.

A Baker administration communication aide did not respond Tuesday night to an inquiry about Urena's status and Urena was unavailable for comment.

The coronavirus outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is the subject of multiple investigations, including one led by former federal prosecutor Mark Pearlstein, who Gov. Charlie Baker assigned to look into the issues.

Attorney General Maura Healey and U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling are each also looking into the Holyoke tragedy, probes that are likely to shed light on who was responsible for the lack of virus preparedness at the facility.

The Baker administration is likely to publicly address the situation on Wednesday.

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