New York sent more than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes even as they were hard-hit by the pandemic, The Associated Press reports.
Though the total number of patients transferred to nursing homes is unclear the Associated Press counted thousands of patients who were affected by a since-scrapped state directive.
“It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” Daniel Erbeeny, whose father died of the coronavirus after he pulled him out of a Brooklyn nursing home, told the outlet. “This isn’t rocket science. We knew the most vulnerable -- the elderly and compromised -- are in nursing homes and rehab centers.”
The Health Department told the outlet that it “can’t comment on data we haven’t had a chance to review, particularly while we’re still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data in the middle of responding to this global pandemic.”
Cuomo defended order:
The directive was issued as New York scrambled to expand hospital capacity, worried that the rising cases would soon overwhelm hospitals. The worst-case scenario did not come to be and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scrapped the directive on May 10.
Cuomo defended the order as recently as last week.
“Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility,’” he said, even though the state directive said no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based” on a confirmed or suspected infection.
The order “put staff and residents at great risk,” a nursing home operator told the AP. “We can’t draw a straight line from bringing in someone positive to someone catching the disease, but we’re talking about elderly, fragile and vulnerable residents.”
Cuomo shifts blame to feds:
Cuomo has tried to shift the blame on the Trump administration’s guidance but the AP noted that “few states went as far as New York and neighboring New Jersey, which has the second-most care home deaths, in discharging hospitalized coronavirus patients to nursing homes.”
Some states, like Louisiana, banned hospitals from sending coronavirus patients back to nursing homes for 30 days.