Friday, April 17, 2020
Death threat made to Flushing nursing home following revelation of a high amount of COVID-19 related deaths
Update by THE CITY
An inventory of COVID-19 deaths at New York nursing homes released by the Cuomo administration Friday provides an incomplete picture of how dire the situation is inside the facilities, medical workers and elected officials said.
The long sought-after list of nursing homes and adult care facilities whose residents have died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 only accounts for one-third of the 3,316 such deaths reported statewide as of Wednesday.
That’s because the new data excludes deaths of residents who were transferred to hospitals — and, in some cases, doesn’t report fatalities thought to be COVID-related where formal virus tests weren’t conducted.
The state’s data sheet says only “some” nursing homes reported the number of “presumed” COVID-19 deaths. Only one-fifth of the city’s 171 nursing homes were identified by name in the latest state data. Of them, nine reported 30 or more deaths stemming from COVID-19.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that the information might be incomplete since nursing homes self-report the deaths that occurred in their facilities to the state. “We only know what they tell us,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany.
But City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said a lack of widespread testing at nursing homes is deflating the number of known patient fatalities because not every nursing home is reporting deaths where there wasn’t a confirmed positive.
The testing deficit also is clearing the path for introducing the virus from outside — because asymptomatic staff members have been allowed and even encouraged to work, he noted.
Treyger said he’s been hearing a host of concerns about nursing homes in southern Brooklyn, and called on the city and state to come up with an action plan to ensure adequate levels of staffing, protective equipment and testing kits.
“I believe the situation at nursing homes is much worse than what’s being reported to the public,” said Treyger.