NYS DOH releases new report on coronavirus in nursing homes

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health released a new report on Monday that looks into what the key drivers were for the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

The report found that more than 37,000 nursing home workers were infected with the coronavirus between March to early June. That accounts to about one in four nursing home staff.

“The correlation is between what happened between community-wide infection and staff infection were the more prevalent reasons why there were fatalities in nursing homes. But it was not because of a directive on March 25,” said Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling.

That order required nursing homes to re-admit covid positive patients unless they could not provide adequate care.

The department’s analysis found that: “Peak nursing home admissions occurred a week after peak nursing home mortality, therefore illustrating that nursing home admissions from hospitals were not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.”

“The March 25 guidance was not the driving factor in nursing home deaths,” NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. 

In a response to Monday’s press conference, Stephen Hanse, the President of the NYS Health Facilities Association and the NYS Center for Assisted Living, said: “At the onset of the COVID-19 virus, nursing homes and assisted living facilities were not the top priority. The principal focus of policymakers was on bolstering hospital resources and ramping up hospital bed capacity. This strategy included the Department of Health’s March 25th Advisory… As we learn more about the COVID-19 virus every day, policymakers now know that the men and women residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are the most at risk to infection from the COVID-19 virus…”

DOH analysis from the report also found that the quality of a nursing home was “not a factor” in fatalities and that “most patients admitted to nursing homes from hospitals were no longer contagious when admitted.”

Several Republicans continue to call for an independent investigation into the coronavirus in nursing homes.

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