New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing mounting scrutiny over his handling of the coronavirus when it comes to nursing homes.
Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent more than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes across the Empire State, according to the Associated Press.
Cuomo’s executive order on the nursing homes — which was intended to free up hospital beds for the most critical COVID-19 patients — was reversed on May 10.
The New York State Department of Health responded to the AP’s tally by saying they can’t verify it, citing the state’s process of “still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data.”
“It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” one New Yorker who lost his 88-year-old father to the virus told the AP.
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Facing mounting scrutiny over his decision to send recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes across the Empire State, a new report has a number attached to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial executive order: at least 4,300.
That tally comes from the Associated Press, not the state.
Cuomo’s executive order from March 25 was intended to ease the burden on hospitals dealing with the most critical COVID-19 patients.
But by sending elderly New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 to nursing homes, the virus spread among the most vulnerable and has since resulted in 5,800 deaths at New York nursing homes and adult care facilities.
The New York State Department of Health did not offer its own count to the AP and said they could not verify the tally, citing the state’s process of “still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data.”
On May 10, the governor reversed the executive order.
Cuomo continued to defend the decision at his press briefings this week by arguing he was simply following the CDC’s guidelines.
Elsewhere, he has made no bones about breaking from the federal government when it comes to going beyond their guidances in other instances — particularly with New York State on PAUSE, his stay-at-home order.
The governor has also pointed to state statutes mandating that nursing homes move patients from their facilities if they cannot receive adequate care on the premises, though the March 25 executive order stated “no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based [on a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis].”
However, other states, such as Louisiana, implemented measures to insulate nursing homes from the spread.
The Pelican State put a 30 day hold on hospitals sending any recovering virus patients to nursing homes — with some exceptions — and saw only 1,000 COVID-related deaths in those facilities.
New York nursing home workers and experts interviewed by the AP described care centers being overrun with incoming COVID patients, and those who lost loved ones to the virus made their anger known.
“It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” Daniel Arbeeny told the AP, having lost his 88-year-old father to the virus after pulling him out of a Brooklyn nursing home that saw more than 50 deaths.
“This isn’t rocket science,” Arbeeny said. “We knew the most vulnerable — the elderly and compromised — are in nursing homes and rehab centers.”
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