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New York to Investigate Nursing Homes After 3,500 Virus Deaths

April 23, 2020, 7:39 PM

New York will investigate nursing homes to ensure they’re following state guidelines, as the number of coronavirus-related deaths continues to rise among senior residents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s health department and attorney general’s office will partner to inspect facilities and look for possible violations of his executive order, which requires nursing homes to notify all residents and their families within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for or dies as a result of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Nursing homes are a “top priority,” Cuomo said Thursday at his daily virus briefing.

“This is a crisis situation for nursing homes,” Cuomo said. “They are under a lot of pressure. We do understand that, through no fault of their own, by the way. This happens to be a virus that happens to attack elderly people, and nursing homes are the place of elderly people.”

The number of Covid-19 cases statewide topped 263,000 and fatalities increased to 15,740, as of Wednesday. New Yorkers over the age of 60 make up more than 84% of the deaths, with 13,262 who died as a result of the virus, according to state data.

A total of 3,505 residents from adult-care facilities and nursing homes have died as a result of the virus, about 22% of the total fatalities, according to state data updated April 21. In recent days, Cuomo has faced a slew of reporters’ questions about what role the state plays in protecting the residents of these homes.

The state and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put in additional rules and guidance throughout the pandemic for nursing homes, which are privately owned but regulated by the state, in an effort to protect one of the most vulnerable populations.

Cuomo on Thursday directed all nursing homes to immediately report to the state health department actions that they have taken to comply with those directives.

Under state and federal laws and regulations, nursing homes are required to use personal protective equipment and complete staff temperature checks. Visitors are not allowed.

The facilities must also isolate Covid-positive patients, and have separate staff working with those residents. If they can’t quarantine the person properly, or provide the appropriate level of care, they have to transfer the person to another facility.

Facilities that have not complied with the directives will be required to immediately submit an action plan, and could be fined $10,000 per violation or potentially lose their license, Cuomo said.

“This is a very intense situation for nursing homes, we get it, but they still have to perform their job and do their job by the rules and regulations,” Cuomo said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Keshia Clukey in Arlington at kclukey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net;
Rakshita Saluja at rsaluja4@bloomberg.net

Stacie Sherman

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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