'This is where this virus feeds': Gov. Cuomo announces new COVID-19 policies to protect nursing homes

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says all nursing home staffers must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

News 12 Staff

May 10, 2020, 3:55 PM

Updated 1,470 days ago


Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new policies for New York's nursing homes Sunday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his briefing Sunday, Cuomo said nursing home staff will now be tested for COVID-19 twice a week and hospitals can no longer discharge a patient to a nursing home unless they test negative for coronavirus.
The governor also said that nursing facilities must transfer patients if they are unable to provide the appropriate level of care. If nursing home operators do not follow the new procedures, they will lose their license, Cuomo warned.
Lorry Sullivan tells News 12 that her 89-year-old mother, Lorraine, died after testing positive for COVID-19 at a nursing home. She says she wishes her mom had been transferred to a hospital after the diagnosis.
Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehab Center, where Sullivan's mother passed away, says it follows all CDC and Department of Health recommendations, performs regular tests and separates COVID-positive residents from the rest of the population.
Sullivan says even though it's too late to help her mother, she hopes the state's new policies help others.
Cuomo also discussed the latest on the "emerging illness" believed to be linked to COVID-19 that's affecting young children and teens. He says the state is investigating up to 85 cases of the syndrome with three deaths. Two additional deaths are under investigation, Cuomo said.
-Hospitalizations today are down, as are intubations. "Great news," Cuomo says. The number of new cases is down to 521, down from yesterday. That number takes us "right back to where we started this hellish journey," on March 20 when NY first enacted the PAUSE order.
-New York reports 207 new deaths. "Still terribly high," Cuomo said, but "better." The daily death toll hasn't been so low since early March.
-One of the state's top priority is protecting people in nursing homes, "where this virus feeds," Cuomo says. He notes the measures that have been enacted, included halting visitation, PPE requirements, staff checks, facility notifying families of outbreaks, and more.
-"This is national problem," Cuomo says. "Nursing homes generally all across the country" have seen the virus' impacts. 
-Cuomo announces new policies on nursing homes:
-He says if a nursing facility cannot provide an appropriate level of care for a patient, they must transfer the resident. 
-If a facility has a COVID-positive person who they are unable treat, they must transfer the patient and contact the state Dept. of Health.
-All nursing home staff must be tested twice a week by diagnostic test, not temperature check, Cuomo says.
-Hospitals cannot discharge patients to nursing homes if they test positive for COVID-19.
-Cuomo notes that there are COVID-only facilities available with the capacity to treat patients.
-Cuomo warns that if a nursing facility does not follow the procedures, it will lose its license.
-On the COVID-related illness affecting children, Cuomo says New York is investigating 85 suspected cases of the Kawasaki-like or toxic shock syndrome-like disease. Three young New Yorkers have died, and two additional deaths are under investigation as possibly related.
-State Dept. of Health is issuing a notice to the 49 other state health depts. to notify them of the emerging situation, Cuomo says.
-On the economic fallout from the crisis, Cuomo urged Congress to take action to make sure corporations hire back laid off workers. He proposed "The Americans First Law," -- if a corporation does not rehire to the same amount of employees they had pre-pandemic, they should get no gov’t bailout money. Cuomo says taxpayers should not be subsidizing major corporations that lay off employees.
-Gov. Cuomo honored New York's mothers on Mother's Day, and noted that he can't visit his own mother because he comes into contact with too many people and it would be "risky." His mother joined the news conference virtually to say a few words, and Cuomo's three daughters also spoke briefly.
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