ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For months, lawmakers have been calling for an independent investigation of New York State’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Wednesday, Senator Jim Tedisco will make an announcement calling for the passage of a bipartisan bill to look into the state’s high death toll in those facilities.
Governor Cuomo has been praised for his handling of the pandemic by some, and criticized by others, especially for his controversial decision back in March that nursing homes take in COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals. He said at the time he was following CDC protocols. The policy was later scrapped.
NYS did their own internal investigation that concluded asymptomatic nursing home staffers were the real spreaders of the virus, not the result of that March 25 directive.
The department’s analysis found that: “Peak nursing home admissions occurred a week after peak nursing home mortality, therefore illustrating that nursing home admissions from hospitals were not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.”
However, lawmakers aren’t satisfied with that report. Senator Tedisco and Majority Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens, who lost an uncle in a New York nursing home to COVID-19, along with other legislators from both sides of the political aisle, will join Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, who lost her in-laws who were residents of state-regulated elder care facilities to the coronavirus, to callfor a top-to-bottom review of what happened in New York’s nursing homes. They say this is an effort to get answers and closure for the families affected by losing their loved ones.
This comes as an Associated Press investigation found that the state’s death toll of nursing home patients, already among the highest in the nation, could be significantly more than reported.
President Donald Trump called Cuomo a “horrible governor” on Twitter Tuesday, writing, in part, “Cuomo killed 11,000 people in nursing homes alone. Crooked & incompetent!”
Governor Cuomo’s administration has emphasized the fact that COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes are a national problem, not unique to New York. Last month at a briefing, Governor Cuomo said, “go talk to the Republican states now — Florida, Texas, Arizona — ask them what is happening in nursing homes. It’s all politics.”
New York’s Legislature has already held two virtual hearings on the issue of COVID-19 in nursing homes, which Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa pointed out in a conference call last week.
“We said if the legislature has additional questions, they could submit them in writing, and we’ll respond to everything in writing—which i assume they would make public. So, it seems that— I don’t really know where else you want this to go,” DeRosa said.
Senator Tedisco is making the announcement about the bill for an investigation Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. at the Capitol.