Report: Over 1,600 nursing home deaths misreported in NY

More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York were released from hospitals into nursing homes early in the pandemic under a controversial order that was scrapped amid criticisms it accelerated outbreaks, according to new records obtained by The Associated Press. 
The new number of 9,056 recovering patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40% higher than what had been previously released by the state health department. And it raises new questions as to whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 25 directive helped spread sickness and death among residents, a charge his administration disputes.
The new information came to light due to a court order.
In Westchester, there were 333 COVID deaths in nursing homes, 236 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes and 422 nursing home patients who died in another facility.
In Orange, there were 145 COVID deaths in nursing homes, 28 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes and 106 nursing home patients who died in another facility.
Dutchess County had 97 COVID deaths in nursing homes, 10 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes and 65 nursing home patients died in another facility.
Bill Hammond, of The Empire Center, filed a Freedom of Information request six months ago for the nursing home numbers. The figures give a facility-by-facility breakdown with the date each death occurred.
Hammond says while the state shared some new numbers, there are still a lot of unknowns.
"There are about 1,600 deaths that we know about that weren't included in the detailed data they provided to us," he says.
Cuomo reversed the directive May 10, barring nursing homes from accepting COVID-19 patients without a negative test first.
State health officials contend that asymptomatic nursing home employees, not recovering COVID patients, were the driving factor in nursing home outbreaks. And they have repeatedly noted that by law, nursing homes weren’t supposed to accept anyone they couldn’t adequately care for.
“At least 98% of nursing home facilities in the state had COVID in their facility before their first admission or readmission, and as we’ve seen across the nation, the major driver of infections appears to be from asymptomatic staff through no fault of their own," said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in a statement to the AP. He added that the March 25 order followed federal guidance.
There are also now multiple reports that Gov. Cuomo's top aide admitted to a cover-up in the COVID- death toll in nursing homes across New York state.
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, reportedly apologized to Democratic lawmakers during a virtual call this week. DeRosa reportedly said "we froze" out of fear the numbers would "be used against us" by the Department of Justice, which was conducting an investigation into COVID deaths in nursing homes.
The new revelations are sparking outrage from both sides of the political aisle.
Republican Rep. Elisa Stefanik released a statement that says, in part, "Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, and his senior team must be prosecuted immediately - both by the Attorney General of New York State and the U.S. Department of Justice.'
Democratic state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi tweeted “Because of your decisions, thousands of people died who did not have to die. We're not "offended", Melissa, we're furious - with extremely good reason.”

Here's a county by county breakdown of the stats:

Westchester
333 COVID deaths in nursing home
236 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
422 nursing home patients died in another facility
Rockland
50 COVID deaths in nursing home
55 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
75 nursing home patients died in another facility
Orange
145 COVID deaths in nursing home
28 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
106 nursing home patients died in another facility
Putnam
19 COVID deaths in nursing home
0 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
12 nursing home patients died in another facility
Dutchess
97 COVID deaths in nursing home
10 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
65 nursing home patients died in another facility
Ulster
80 COVID deaths in nursing home
0 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
32 nursing home patients died in another facility
Sullivan
12 COVID deaths in nursing home
0 presumed COVID deaths in nursing homes
8 nursing home patients died in another facility
AP Wire Services were used in this report