Hudson Valley lawmaker asks Biden to force NY to release nursing home death numbers
Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, a Republican representing Mahopac, is asking President Joe Biden to force New York to release the full number of coronavirus deaths of nursing home residents.
He, along with Assemblyman Ron T. Kim, a Democrat, sent a letter to the president seeking the information.
"If we want to really objectively measure how we are doing and if there were missteps in the state's response, we need to have complete data," says Byrne.
The state’s Department of Health responded to the criticism, saying in part:
"The information they are seeking will be released once it has been appropriately reconciled."
For Joan Rodriguez, who lost her 84-year-old father Anthony to the virus, that answer is not good enough.
"I have this picture in my head that is vivid…of my father laying there alone, isolated, without me able to see him or be with him," she told News 12. "It should be no secret that we should know the accurate numbers of deaths because it could change a lot of things."
News 12 reports that it could be at least two more months before the number of nursing home resident deaths outside of facilities are released.
Joan blames the state of New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo who ordered nursing homes to take in COVID-19 positive patients on March 25. The governor defended his decisions, calling the blame he received “ugly politics.”
According to the state Department of Health, Westchester is leading the region with the most nursing home deaths from COVID-19.
Full statement from Gary Holmes, New York State Department of Health:
“We share the members’ optimism for the new administration and their eagerness to protect our most vulnerable residents. We’re doing that by continuing to manage a pandemic response while prioritizing this community as part of the state’s comprehensive vaccination distribution plan. As we’ve said repeatedly, the information they are seeking will be released once it has been appropriately reconciled.”