Report: NY forced nursing homes to take 4,500 patients who tested positive for virus

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ALBANY, NY – Law Enforcement Today previously reported on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous move to forcibly admit COVID-19 patients into nursing homes. Now, we’re seeing in greater detail what the move imposed by the numbers.

Turns out that nursing homes in New York were forced to accept over 4,500 patients that were once positive for COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo waited approximately six weeks before reversing his March 25 order that made it so nursing homes were compelled to bring in seniors who tested positive for the virus after their release from the hospital.

The decision back in March has resulted in harsh criticism toward the state Governor, with critics attributing the state’s high number of senior deaths from the virus to said March order.  

There has also been some scrutiny toward the manner in which the state of New York is reporting nursing home related deaths stemming from COVID-19. On May 3rd, the state stopped counting nursing home deaths of COVID-19 if the residents weren’t actually present at the long-term care facility when they passed.

What that means is if someone was a nursing home patient in New York and was transferred to a hospital and then subsequently died, it was no longer counted along the tallied nursing home deaths.

Seems like the Health Department in New Jersey was also among those that decided that nursing homes would be a great fit for previous COVID-19 patients in March of this year.

A letter sent out on March 31st to long-term care facilities in New Jersey from New Jersey’s Health Department stated the following:

“No patient/resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the post-acute care setting solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”

Come May 20th, an article titled5,368 dead and counting: An investigation of state failures as crisis rampaged through N.J. nursing homes” was published. A concerning number to say the least, and possibly telling of the ramifications of forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients.

Christopher Laxton, the executive director of Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Medicine, noted that while long-term care facilities have staff similar to what one might find inside of a hospital, they’re far from being a full-fledged hospital:

“Compared to a hospital, it’s a very, very different picture. Nursing homes are not staffed the way hospitals are. There are about 15 residents to one nurse. It’s one to one in an intensive care unit.”

Laxton also noted on what could have possibly influenced state officials to have thought it smart to introduce possible vectors of the virus into a vulnerable populace:

“Why would you send someone who may be a carrier into a place without proper controls only to infect people who would then be sent to a hospital for care?”

Laxton pointed to the success that Florida has had in managing the spread of COVID within nursing homes, despite having the largest number of nursing homes per capita compared to any other state:

“What it underlines for us is that when governors’ offices work closely with clinical specialists they get better policy. When you make policy in a vacuum, that’s when bad things start happening and you get these really terrible situations.”

In case you missed it, here’s our original report we ran earlier in May on New York’s blunder with nursing homes and the pandemic: 

After massive pushback against a bizarre directive, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed the decision on forcing nursing homes to admit patients with COVID-19 into their facilities.

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A smart move, since nearly every authority within the medical community has noted that the elderly are at higher risk for death and complications associated with COVID-19.

NBC was one of the mainstream media outlets to give the New York state governor a hard time for putting nursing homes at risk with said directive to admit COVID-19 positive individuals into their facilities.

Prior to the change in policy by Governor Cuomo, the health department had the following directive aimed at nursing homes:

“[Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

One needn’t be a rocket scientist to see that potential catastrophe that said mandate created.

When patients recovering from COVID-19 started filing into the Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New York in late March, they’d only had one resident at the time present with the virus.

Just one month later, the very same facility suffered 24 deaths attributed to the virus. It was reported that three residents happened to be hospital transfers.

Back when the mandate was in full swing, David Grabowski, a professor of health policy at Harvard Medical School, stated the following:

“Nursing homes are working so hard to keep the virus out, and now we’re going to be introducing new COVID-positive patients?”

After making the smart decision to reverse the mandate, Governor Cuomo stated the following on May 10th:

“We’re just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after hospital visit. Period. If there’s any issue, the resident must be referred to the department of health which will find alternative care.”

Needless to say, that is a far cry from what Governor Cuomo stated on April 23rd with regard to nursing home admissions and COVID-19 patients:

“They don’t have the right to object. That is the rule, and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with it, and the regulation is basic common sense. If you can’t provide adequate care you can’t have the patient in your facility.”

The way Cuomo saw things during that April 23rd briefing where he detailed nursing homes accepting COVID patients, he cited it as an “ethical” and “legal obligation.” Seems like New York’s governor changed his tune quicker than Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Now, the protocol within nursing homes tackling the virus will include administering two diagnostic tests weekly to check for COVID-19 within their facilities. There was also a guarantee that tests will be made available to employees at said establishments as well.

Considering that New York State health officials have reported that 85% of all COVID-19 deaths are those over the age of 60-years-old, this is a logical, but late, move.


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