Governor Cuomo Has Defended The State's Reporting Of Nursing Home Deaths
Amid allegations that New York coronavirus deaths in nursing homes were under reported, Governor Andrew Cuomo says they were only “delayed”.
Within hours of the report's release, the state came out with new data that showed an additional 3,800 deaths — nursing home residents who died in hospitals. More than 15,000 people have died from coronavirus in the state's nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
"All the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported," Cuomo said. "The numbers were the numbers. Always."
How bad was the under-reporting? The New York Governor said Monday that everything reported was accurate though delayed. However the state attorney general last month said the death toll was much higher, possibly 50% higher.
Why The Delay In Reporting Nursing Home Deaths From Covid-19?
Governor Cuomo said Monday that the state had released the numbers it had immediate access to at the time. That delay was in part due to the state's dealing with a federal inquiry by the Department of Justice, Cuomo said. Health officials decided to focus on that data request before responding to state lawmakers' request for more information. The governor said, "We paused the state legislature's request while we were finishing the DOJ request".
A top aide to Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, said to state lawmakers that "we froze" when asked for the true number of nursing home deaths, worrying they would be "used against us" by a hostile White House administration, the. The governor's office later confirmed that report.
"Everyone was busy…We're in the midst of managing a pandemic. There was a delay in providing the press and the public all that additional information." - Governor Andrew Cuomo
Other Nursing Home Reporting Issues Dogging Cuomo
Cuomo has also faced criticism in recent days after an Associated Press report found that, in the early days of the pandemic, New York sent more than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients from hospitals back into nursing homes.
A report by the New York DOH (New York State Department of Health) seemed to defend the Governor claiming the readmissions did not contribute to the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes. "These patients could not have been responsible for introducing COVID into their nursing home, as they had COVID prior to going to the hospital for treatment and before being readmitted," the report said. Also in the report, a claim that "most patients" readmitted to nursing homes were likely no longer infectious at that point.
United States Department of Justice
New York State Department of Health