New York State reports more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths in nursing homes and adult care institutions, as it is critically examining how it protects vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 4,813 people have died of COVID-19 in state nursing homes since March 1, according to a note recently released by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s government, which includes people believed to have been previously killed by the United States. coronavirus their diagnoses could be confirmed by a laboratory test.
How many nursing home residents died exactly remains uncertain despite the state’s latest disclosure, as the list does not include nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before they died.
The revised list shows that 22 nursing homes, primarily in New York City and Long Island, reported at least 40 deaths.
The Parker Jewish Institute in Queens and the Isabella Geriatric Center – one of the largest nursing homes in New York City with 705 beds – reported the highest deaths: 71 and 64, respectively.
Audrey Waters, a spokeswoman for the Isabella Geriatric Center, said in an email last week, “Isabella, like all other New York City nursing homes, initially had limited access to widespread and consistent internal testing to quickly respond to our residents and employees. This impeded our ability to identify those who were infected and asymptomatic, despite our efforts to quickly separate everyone who showed symptoms. “In many cases, the new figures from the state reveal far more deaths than previously reported in nursing homes: Isabella Geriatric Center had reported 13 COVID-19 deaths as of May 1 and is now reporting the deaths of 21 patients confirmed to have COVID-19 along with 43 deaths from residents believed to have COVID-19. And Ozanam Hall of Queens now reports a total of 53 deaths, up from just 10.
Several veteran homes have been particularly affected by the virus: the Long Island State Veterans Home has reported 53 deaths; including 48 confirmed and five suspected deaths from Covid-19. The New York State Veterans Home in St. Albans in Queens reported 33 deaths, while the New York State Veterans Home in Montrose in Westchester says 22 residents died.
Cuomo promised on March 2, when only a handful of cases of coronavirus were reported in New York, to make a “special effort” for nursing and community homes where seniors lived. The state sent nursing homes to screen visitors and consider changing visiting hours on March 6 and later suspending visits to nursing homes across the state on March 12.
But the governor is criticized for his government’s role in overseeing and supporting the overwhelmed state-regulated nursing homes in New York, as many have struggled to treat Covid-19 patients to gather enough personal protective equipment or provide sufficient staff.
Advocacy groups for the elderly and family members of nursing home residents have called for more transparency about Covid-19 cases in each state-regulated nursing home and criticized a state law dated April 1 that grants some immunity to hospitals and nursing homes from civil and criminal liability. They also questioned the state’s March 25 policy that “no resident should be refused admission or admission to a nursing home solely on the basis of a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of Covid-19.”
The governor and his administration have defended that policy to ensure that nursing home residents do not get stuck in hospitals or have nowhere else to go. Cuomo spokesman tweeted on Monday that the policy follows Federal Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines. But federal guidelines only say that a nursing home can accept “a resident diagnosed with Covid-19” as long as the nursing home can follow federal guidelines on transmission precautions.
Cuomo has also said that the state has facilities that can accommodate transferred Covid-19 nursing home patients, and he recently said that nursing homes that tell the state in advance that they cannot care for a Covid-19 patient are not subject to regulation accurate research. His administration did not respond to a request for questions about the state’s current capacity to care for residents of nursing homes in Covid-19 and whether nursing homes were notified.
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