Tags: Coronavirus | cuomo | newyork | covid | deaths | nursinghomes

Watchdog Group: Cuomo COVID-19 Edict Might Have Caused 1,000 Nursing Home Deaths

Watchdog Group: Cuomo COVID-19 Edict Might Have Caused 1,000 Nursing Home Deaths
(Mark Lennihan/AP)

By    |   Friday, 19 February 2021 06:45 PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisory for nursing homes to accept patients who tested positive for COVID-19 was linked to possibly more than 1,000 additional deaths, according to a government watchdog group.

A scandal has developed surrounding Cuomo's March 25 advisory as reports have surfaced that the Democrat governor's administration purposely withheld the true death toll due to COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. 

"Statewide, the findings imply that COVID-positive new admissions between late March and early May, which numbered 6,327, were associated with several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 additional resident deaths," said a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy, per the Washington Examiner

The governor's guidance was amended on May 10, when hospitals were informed that only patients who tested negative for COVID-19 could be discharged to nursing homes.

In the initial advisory, nursing homes were prohibited from requiring prospective residents to provide a negative test result as proof that they were coronavirus-free.

"Further, admitting any number of new COVID-positive patients was associated with an average of 4.2 additional deaths per facility," the Empire Center for Public Policy said.

The report said upstate nursing homes were affected more widely, at least partly due to a relatively low rate of new COVID-19 cases at the time. "Even a single exposure would have had a larger impact on the level of risk," the report said.

Accusations of a cover-up followed a published report that Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa told state Democrats in a private phone call that administration officials withheld the actual number of nursing home deaths out of fear the actual number would "be used against us."

The administration also reportedly was concerned about a possible Department of Justice investigation.

On Friday Cuomo denied death totals were altered intentionally.

"It is a lie to say any numbers were inaccurate," he said. "Total deaths were always reported to nursing homes and hospitals."

Cuomo said his administration did not withhold data from either the state legislature or the Department of Justice.

"New York state legislators requested information. ... We said we would pause the state legislature's request because we gave the DOJ precedence," Cuomo said. "We told them that we paused the state request. They were told, and they knew."

The Empire Center for Public Policy attempted to get full accounting of nursing home deaths in August. The center received the data on Feb. 3, several days after New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, issued her report on the undercount, saying the death count may be 50 percent higher than what the Cuomo administration had reported.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisory for nursing homes to accept patients who tested positive for COVID-19 was linked to possibly more than 1,000 additional deaths, according to a government watchdog group. A scandal has developed surrounding Cuomo's March 25 advisory as...
cuomo, newyork, covid, deaths, nursinghomes
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2021-45-19
Friday, 19 February 2021 06:45 PM
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