Nursing homes have emerged as a second major front in New York’s battle to stem the coronavirus crisis — with their residents accounting for 15% of COVID-19 deaths in the state, the state Department of Health revealed Sunday.
Like staffers at many city hospitals, nursing home industry officials say they’re suffering from shortages of protective equipment and testing kits — even as they’re caring for a population with the highest risk of succumbing to the virus.
“I’m not getting the equipment I need to properly protect my staff and to properly protect my patients — and that is my absolute biggest concern,” said Scott LaRue, CEO of ArchCare, a network of five nursing homes with 1,700 beds in the city and upstate that’s affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York.
LaRue, who confirmed residents in his network have tested positive for COVID-19, said he spent Sunday delivering thousands of items of protective equipment to his facilities — but that it was barely enough for one day.
He said his workers don’t have enough surgical gowns and face shields to keep them safe when caring for symptomatic patients.
“We’ve been buying rain ponchos and beautician gowns off of Amazon,” said LaRue.