Despite announcing his resignation as New York Governor Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo may still have to answer for the thousands of COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes last year due to his mandate, Voices for Seniors Founder Vivian Zayas told Newsmax Tuesday night.
“We have been fighting for about over a year and a half trying to get answers for what happened to our parents, Zayas said on “Stinchfield” Tuesday night. “Actually, this is only the beginning, so we're going to continue to go forward to look for what we call is closure and accountability for their lives.”
Zayas founded the organization after her mother, Ana Martinez, went into Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitation in West Islip, New York, for therapy after a knee replacement and died several weeks later from the COVID-19 virus.
“Our Lady of Consolation’s inadequate, unreliable communication, dangerously flawed infectious disease protocols, and a governor’s irresponsible mandate requiring nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients all contributed to her tragic, and very preventable death,” the organization’s website said.
Cuomo, who said he will leave the office in 14 days after a sexual harassment scandal involving 11 women, mandated nursing home facilities, like Our Lady of Consolation, take in COVID patients from hospitals, even though they were not equipped to manage the pandemic.
As many as 12,000 seniors are believed to have died in various senior facilities across the state during the height of the pandemic, and the Cuomo administration may have underreported the numbers to the U.S. Department of Justice in what would amount to a coverup.
Zayas said she wants the investigation into the deaths, and accountability for Cuomo to continue so the families of the victims can have closure.
“We know that he has a pattern of giving his cronies and his friends and family preferential treatment, all at the expense of our seniors,” Zayas said. “That is not going to be forgotten on our part. Voices for Seniors stands for the families, and all of the victory lap that we take basically is short lived because we still have a lot of work to do.”
In January, the administration admitted that at least 12,743 seniors died in long-term care facilities as of Jan. 19, a third higher than the “official” count of 8,505 on that day.
A report at the time by New York State attorney General Letitia James said that the number could be off by as much as 50% more deaths.
“While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves,” James said in a statement at the time.
While groups like Zayas’ want the investigation into the deaths to continue to hold Cuomo to account, it is not yet clear what impact his resignation will have on those inquiries.
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