Advocates demand more information on deaths, infections from nursing homes
Deadly clusters of COVID-19 have taken a toll at Long Island nursing homes throughout the outbreak.
The coronavirus has killed more than 2,400 elderly and disabled New York residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, according to newly released data from the state. Nassau has suffered 180 deaths of that kind, and Suffolk's toll is up to 141.
State officials released the data earlier this week in response to questions from media members. But advocates and relatives of nursing home residents say that's not enough.
Sheri LaMagna's 89-year-old mother resides at the Sands Point Center for Health and Rehabilitation. LaMagna says the state should release the infection and death counts for specific nursing home facilities.
"By the time we find out, if we find out, it could be way too late," says LaMagna. "There needs to be full disclosure and it needs to come immediately."
The state Health Department says it will not release the nursing home-specific COVID-19 information, citing privacy laws.
Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved regulations that banned nonessential visitors to nursing homes, including relatives. While supportive of the ban to protect residents, many family members say the move made releasing site-specific COVID-19 information even more important because relatives have limited access to the facilities.
In the meantime, advocates for nursing home residents say they're doing what they can to help.
"We're getting a lot of calls every day," says Lisa Stern, with the Family and Children's Association. "FCA is here to advocate for families to work with nursing homes to try to get answers."
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