NY Nursing Home Report Reveals Data May Have Been Undercounted 'By as Much as 50 Percent'

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Posted: Jan 28, 2021 10:55 AM
NY Nursing Home Report Reveals Data May Have Been Undercounted 'By as Much as 50 Percent'

Source: Holly Pickett/The New York Times via AP, Pool

"It’s finally happening," Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean wrote on Twitter on Thursday. "@NYGovCuomo is going to have to answer for his role in the nursing home tragedy and the cover up. The angels won."

After months of investigative work, New York Attorney General Letitia James and her office released their report on the number of COVID-related fatalities in state nursing homes. Over the summer, the New York State Department of Health reported that just over 6,600 people had died from COVID. But as predicted, that number appears to have been severely undercounted, perhaps by as much as 50 percent, the attorney general regretted to announce. New York was the only state in the nation with a major outbreak to not include in their count those individuals who died from COVID after being transferred to the hospital.

Among those findings were that a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent. The investigations also revealed that nursing homes’ lack of compliance with infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm, and facilities that had lower pre-pandemic staffing ratings had higher COVID-19 fatality rates. Based on these findings and subsequent investigation, Attorney General James is conducting ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern.

“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” said Attorney General James. “While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents. Nursing homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time.”

Janice Dean, who lost both of her in-laws to COVID in separate New York nursing homes, is among many New Yorkers who blame Gov. Cuomo's nursing home mandate for the tragedies. The order essentially forced elder care facilities to accept recovering COVID patients.

Update: New York lawmakers like Rep. Elise Stefanik and Nicole Malliotakis are beginning to sound off on the devastating report.

"This is now more than a nursing home scandal, this is a massive corruption and coverup scandal at the highest level of New York State Government implicating the Governor, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Health Commissioner and the Governor’s staff," Stefanik said in a statement. "Every New Yorker deserves transparency, accountability and answers regarding the orchestration of this illegal coverup. I am calling on the New York Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to issue subpoenas immediately of Governor Cuomo and his entire staff on all documentation and internal and external communications, including with any and all associations and lobbyists who have direct ties to the Governor’s senior team related to this corrupt and illegal coverup. I am committed to doing everything I can in my power to protect the independence of the ongoing federal investigation into Governor Cuomo's nursing home disaster. President Joe Biden should pledge to do the same. As a fellow New Yorker, I want to publicly thank the effective and tireless advocates who have humbly served as the voice of their lost loved ones and have faced inexcusably cruel treatment from the Governor and his entire team, who we know have orchestrated a criminal coverup and have blood on their hands.”