Thomson-Hood Veterans Center has experienced a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 that is affecting both veterans and staff. A total of 86 veterans have become infected.

Since October, at least 24 veterans have died from COVID-19 in Kentucky’s Thomson-Hood Veterans Center outside of Lexington, Governor Andy Beshear announced on Friday. Forty-eight have recovered. Five are in the hospital and another nine are being treated within the center. Sixty-three staff members have tested positive for the virus; 11 are still active with COVID-19.

“This is the toughest spot we’ve been in thus far,” Governor Beshear said of the outbreak in an interview with New York Times.

“You must do your part and folks, this is now to the point where you need to be wearing your mask simply to protect yourself. It will also help others around you, but if you are not wearing a mask, you are putting yourself at personal risk of this virus,” he added.

Assisted living and nursing homes have been ravaged by the disease: The combination of an elderly population with many pre-existing medical conditions, along with small, cramped living quarters makes them potential hotbeds of the disease.

In a post on Facebook, the Thompson Hood Center said, “We are still battling. Keep praying for our incredible, warrior staff and our precious veterans. We are heartbroken over our losses. Please wear your masks and make smart, safe choices as you go about your daily lives. What we do out in the community matters.”

Things had been stable for months at the Kentucky veterans center. Its administration had been proactive, conducting daily tests for both veterans and staff since March. It would also conduct immediate testing for anyone who was showing symptoms.

But since the beginning of fall, there has been an explosion of COVID-19 across the country. And with a flurry of new cases in Kentucky, once the virus made its way into the center, it spread quickly and out of control.