Report claims many COVID-19 nursing home deaths were not due to NY's policies
The state of New York says a large number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 was not because of its own policies, but rather because of nursing home workers spreading the virus to patients.
State health officials now say that COVID-19 was not only brought into nursing homes by infected staff who may have not known they had it, but that fatalities were also related to peak staff infections.
The results of the report conducted by the New York Department of Health come on the same day a Uniondale law firm announced the first of a series of lawsuits being filed against New York nursing homes on behalf of the families of residents who died from the coronavirus. Three of the facilities named in the suits are in Nassau, and three are in Suffolk.
An attorney from the firm said, "These facilities were reckless because they had the opportunity to prepare themselves for the coronavirus pandemic, but failed to put the necessary systems in place."
The results of the report seem to contradict claims that nursing home deaths were linked to a March 25 admissions policy issued by the governor that said no resident could be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on confirmed and suspected COVID-19.
But the president of the New York State Health Facilities Association, which represents skilled nursing and assisted living providers, says there is no one way that COVID-19 got into these kinds of facilities.
"You can't 100% say it was staff or say it was visitors or patients coming from the hospital," says Stephen Hanse. "What the data has showed is that in communities with high infection rates nursing and assisted living would also have high infections rates."
During Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Monday briefing, he blamed the federal government for not sounding the alarm much sooner. He said state officials could have put more preventative measures in place well before the first case in New York on March 1.
"They should've said the virus was in Europe when it was in Europe," said Cuomo. "They should've said the virus was here when it was here and that should've happened in January."
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