ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As we start to look back on the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State, a big issue has been the spread of the virus in nursing homes. 

One issue that’s been brought up is the state order in March requiring nursing homes to re-admit COVID-positive patients. It was changed in May, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked if he regrets that order.

“I understand the politics on the issue. I understand what the Republicans say on the issue. It’s not a coincidence that this is primarily an argument put forth by Republicans,” the Governor said.

The Governor has maintained the state was following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay says it’s not just a Republican issue. 

“I don’t know how you can call it a Republican issue. Obviously, we’re concerned. New York had about 6,000 nursing home deaths out of a population on 100,000. Other states like California and Florida — Florida which never implemented — that had a much lower fatality rate. California, which had that order in place and realized how crazy it was, and pulled it back,” Barclay said. 

Nursing home advocates say to be prepared in the event of a second wave or resurgence, having enough personal protective equipment and testing is crucial, and that the old directive was implemented at a time when there was a fear that hospitals could be overrun by COVID patients and need more bed space. 

“I think, moving forward, there’s a recognition now that understanding the the virus as we understand it, going back to the potential for people to be infected and not present symptoms, and that really understanding that the men and women that we care for are the most vulnerable, and we need to take every precaution that’s reasonable to safeguard their health and well being. I think in the future that type of directive would not be implemented and put in place,” said Stephen Hanse, NYSHFA President and CEO.

Barclay says that he would like to see legislative hearings on the issue.