New York state enacted a measure last month that seems downright cruel during this coronavirus outbreak. Nursing homes, which house those most vulnerable to coronavirus, are forced to accept patients who had tested positive for the disease. Officials claim it's a necessary step to ease overcrowding at hospitals and that the discharged patients will be cleared by medical professionals.
Governor Cuomo failed to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens by prohibiting Nursing Homes from denying re-admission or admission to patients that have tested positive COVID-19. See the official document below. @DaveMcKinley2 @NewsRadio930 https://t.co/wWG98NilU4 pic.twitter.com/DbAMruvjFk— The Financial Guys (@finguys) April 22, 2020
"No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19," the order reads. "NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19."
Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, the disease has spread in at least one nursing home that was forced to take in coronavirus patients. Here's what happened at The Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New York.
A month later, Gurwin is battling an outbreak that’s killed 24 residents — only three of whom were hospital transfers — and one staff member, who worked in housekeeping, Almer said. And the nursing home is still mandated to take in recovering hospital patients known to have the virus, potentially increasing its spread in the facility.
“We can’t say for sure” whether the virus has spread because of the patients transferred under the state mandate, Almer said. “But it’s certainly not helping the situation.” (NBC News)
Over 3,500 residents of New York state nursing homes and adult care facilities have succumbed to the coronavirus, nearly a quarter of the state's death toll.
Dr. Howard Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, claims that these facilities are equipped to handle recovering COVID-19 patients, despite reports that they lack PPE. When asked why the nursing homes weren't better prepared, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained it “wasn’t our job.” The only thing his administration could do, he said, was put those privately run homes "out of business" if they're not adequately equipping their staff.
Cuomo has largely been a forceful leader in acquiring medical resources for the Empire State, and engaging in bipartisan teamwork with the White House. But forcing nursing homes to take in coronavirus patients and put the vulnerable at even higher risk? The New York Post editorial board called it plain evil.
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