New York, attorney general launch investigation into how nursing homes handle COVID-19
The state is launching an investigation into how nursing homes are handling the coronavirus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a joint investigation by the attorney general and Department of Health to ensure that nursing homes are following rules and regulations that have been put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those rules is that they have to notify residents and family members within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for COVID-19 or suffers a COVID-19-related death.
Francine Solomon says her 93-year-old mother-in-law Iris was a resident at the Cold Spring Hills nursing facility in Woodbury. Iris told her she was having trouble breathing and says staff gave her an antibiotic. Francine asked them to have Iris tested for the coronavirus.
"The nurse that we spoke to said to us, 'We're not doing any testing, we're just assuming that everyone is COVID positive here,'" says Solomon. "I said, 'How can you be doing that?' And she said, 'Well this is what we're doing.' I said that's unacceptable."
Iris died within 24 hours, and Solomon says communication between the facility and the family had gone dark.
"I don't know if it's because they didn't want anybody to know what was going on in that place or they're trying to hide the number of people that are passing because of it," says Solomon.
Cuomo also echoed that if facilities can't provide adequate care, they must transfer the patients. He says he knows the rules are strict, but they must be followed or facilities will be subject to a fine or a loss of license.
Cuomo also says nursing home staff are required to wear adequate PPE, take their temperatures every day and COVID-positive patients must be isolated.