A Sobering Virus Stat Out of NY Nursing Homes

State updates COVID-19 tally, reveals 1.7K deaths went undisclosed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2020 10:10 AM CDT
1.7K Deaths at NY Nursing Homes Went Undisclosed
A patient is loaded into an ambulance by emergency medical workers outside Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, NY, on April 17.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

New York state is reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic, per the AP. At least 4,813 people have died from COVID-19 in the state's nursing homes since March 1, according to a tally released Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test. Exactly how many nursing home residents have died remains uncertain, as the list doesn't account for nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before dying. The revised list shows that 22 nursing homes, largely in New York City and Long Island, have reported at least 40 deaths.

Parker Jewish Institute in Queens and Isabella Geriatric Center—one of New York City's largest nursing homes with 705 beds—have reported the highest number of deaths: 71 and 64, respectively. A rep for Isabella Geriatric Center, which had 13 COVID-19 deaths reported as of May 1, said all NYC nursing homes had "limited access to widespread and consistent in-house testing," though it moved "to swiftly separate anyone who presented symptoms." Advocacy groups have called for greater transparency over COVID-19 cases at each state-regulated nursing home and criticized an April 1 state law granting some immunity to hospitals and nursing homes from civil and criminal liability. They also questioned the state's March 25 policy that says "no resident shall be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19." (More coronavirus stories.)

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