Another 1,700 virus deaths reported in NY nursing homes

At least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 have died at 351 of New York’s 613 nursing homes since March 1.

News 12 Staff

May 4, 2020, 5:38 PM

Updated 1,480 days ago

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New York state is now reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it’s protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 have died at 351 of New York’s 613 nursing homes since March 1.
That's according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s new list released late Monday that includes the reported number of both confirmed and presumed deaths as of Sunday evening. Nursing home residents have made up roughly one-fourth to one-fifth of the state’s official tally of fatalities.
Meanwhile, coronavirus testing is now underway for all Westchester County nursing homes after getting the state's approval, according to County Executive George Latimer.
Latimer says the goal is to test every person living in Westchester County nursing homes and identify and protect those who test negative for coronavirus. "We have had a concentration of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It's unfortunate, and it's striking. So we want to stop we can use the proper testing and proper isolation," says Latimer.
Many are pointing the finger at the Cuomo administration for issuing an order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients, when sick and elderly people are most at risk from COVID-19. And issues such as chronic under staffing, shortages of protective gear, and constant contact between workers and residents have caused nursing homes to be ravaged by the virus. The county says the number of places it can test each day depends on the number of residents in the facility and how many existing tests have already been conducted. The first facility to be tested is the Victoria Home Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Ossining.
Nursing homes are regulated by New York state, but state officials have now granted authority to Westchester's health department to test residents at the homes.
The county says based on test results, a decision will be made about whether residents should go under isolation within the home or not. Many have been questioning why infected nursing home patients have not been sent to temporary field hospitals, such as the Westchester County Center or the Javits Center in Manhattan where beds are going unused.
AP wires were used in this report
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BRIEFING NOTES:
- There are around 30,000 coronavirus cases in the county, with 5,791 active cases. Latimer says that there is an almost 50% drop in number of active cases since April 18.
- There are 664 people hospitalized due to coronavirus, and 1,101 people in the county have died from COVID-19. Latimer says less than 20 people dying every day, which is a significant drop in deaths.
- Over 100,000 people in Westchester tested for coronavirus.
- Latimer says three first responders have died due to COVID-19.
- He also says that the county is expanding antibody testing, and will reach out to departments across the county to test first responders (testing is not mandatory).
- Latimer says the county is now testing people in nursing homes for COVID-19.
- He also says that during the weekend, there were people who did not comply with social distancing guidelines. Latimer says that while the county does not plan to shut down areas that have reopened, he says that he is keeping to the guidelines the county has laid out to keep people safe.
- Latimer says the county is working on a food distribution plan that will be expanded to more people.
- He also says the county is searching for contact tracers.
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