Families of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 say new site is a start, but more transparency needed

New York State released a website with a COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday with the promise of greater transparency.
The site gives a clearer look at the data surrounding nursing home deaths, which many in New York feel was misrepresented during the pandemic.
Vivian Zayas, one of the founders of the group Voices For Seniors, says she is glad to see the revamped version of the state’s website, but it’s just a start.
“The information is still very vague and until it’s fixed we still don’t have clarity as to the numbers,” Zayas says.
Gov. Kathy Hochul says the site is now easier to navigate and access information.
“On our first day we released data that had been previously undisclosed relating to nursing home deaths and we’re going to continue providing all the information as we find it,” Hochul says.
According to Gov. Hochul, the site is now easier to navigate and access information.
The site breaks down the number of nursing home deaths by county and by the number of confirmed deaths, confirmed deaths of people outside of a nursing home and presumed deaths.
It also shows the name of each facility in the state, the county the facility is in and the number of confirmed deaths.
Zayas, whose mother was in rehabilitation at Our Lady of Consolation when she caught COVID-19 and died, says the information is not specific enough.
“There’s many families in our group whose parents were transferred home after contracting the virus at a nursing home and died at home subsequently,” Zayas says. “So we don’t have any clarity as to if those people are counted.”
She and other families are hoping Hochul releases even more information they hope will better reflect the true number of seniors who died after contracting COVID-19 in nursing homes.
“We believe a lot of the seniors fell through the cracks because of the information and the way it was being reported,” Zayas says.
She says she and other members of her group met with Hochul and asked for both an apology from the state, which she says she received and transparency in the numbers of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19.
Zayas says the new site is a start, but she says there is still a way to go.