Italian prosecutors have ordered the exhumation of 18 COVID-19 victims to see if they caught the virus from an infected hospital patient who was taken into the care home where they lived.
The exhumations came as part of an investigation into the San Giuseppe care home for the elderly in the municipality of Montecchio Emilia in the northern Italian province of Reggio Emilia, in the Emilia-Romagna region as prosecutors are considering culpable homicide charges for the management.
Local media report an elderly person was taken into the care home from the Franchini Hospital who was infected with coronavirus without the staff knowing.
Prosecutors believe that this one patient could have led to the deaths of 18 pensioners at the care home, and they are investigating if allowing the infected patient into the home represents serious negligence on the management’s part.
The exhumed bodies will undergo autopsies to determine if they died from the same strain of the virus that the infected hospital patient brought into the care home.
Five people are being investigated in the case including local priest Angelo Orlandini, 60, the director of the care home (not named), the care home’s manager (not named), an external doctor (not named), and the head of the local prevention and protection service (not named).
Al the suspects have said they did nothing wrong through their lawyers, according to reports.
The body of local emeritus bishop Giovanni Paolo Gibertini will be among those to be exhumed after he died at the age of 97.
The case is ongoing.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Italy has registered 239,706 cases of COVID-19 and 34,678 related deaths.
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