Increased number of COVID deaths included in NYS updates

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised to be more transparent. Wednesday, New York State released 12,000 additional COVID-19 deaths, according to CDC data.

Hochul’s administration is now giving the numbers that were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — that data including death certificate information of those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.

In the past, former governor Andrew Cuomo only gave numbers from the The Health Electronic Response Data System, also known as HERDS, which is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.

Senator Jim Tediso said he’s pleased that the CDC death totals are now being included in daily updates by the state.

“We found out that the 43,000 that the governor and [NYSDOH] Commissioner [Howard] Zucker were talking about holistically is actually 55,000 or more deaths in New York State,” said Senator Tediso. “So this is a good thing that we are joining close to 90-95% of other states who follow CDC guidelines. As we know, the governor didn’t follow those.”

In a statement, Rich Azzopardi, spokesperson for Andrew Cuomo said:

“In August 2020, when testing became widely available, DOH issued a health order mandating that any presumed COVID death be tested to ensure accuracy in numbers.  As such, the State reported daily and clearly labeled confirmed COVID deaths.  At the same time, the CDC requested “presumed” COVID deaths, which are not lab confirmed.  New York always reported these numbers and they were always publicly available.”

Since becoming governor, Hochul has sworn to be more transparent, saying she will work to improve the FOIL request process.

“I’m encouraged by what Governor Hochul has said about her commitment to transparency,” said Bill Hammond, Empire Center Senior Fellow for Health Policy. “This is one symbolic gesture in that direction. I’m really anxious to see concrete steps by her and by the health department that results in information being released that we haven’t seen yet. New information that’s been withheld and including all of those nitty gritty details that are so important to analysis.”

Republican lawmakers, including Senator Tedisco, believe Dr. Zucker should be replaced with a new Heath Commissioner.

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