Coronavirus pandemic: State of the nursing home

COVID-19 has rocked the state and the city since it first hit the area more than two months ago.

News 12 Staff

Jun 4, 2020, 6:19 PM

Updated 1,447 days ago

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COVID-19 has rocked the state and the city since it first hit the area more than two months ago.
Unfortunately, facilities housing some of the city’s most vulnerable were no match for the deadly disease.
Keeping families from seeing their loved ones at nursing homes during this pandemic couldn't keep away the havoc COVID-19 would have on the city's most vulnerable.
As of June 1, the state Department of Health data shows 3,133 people confirmed and presumed to have had coronavirus died at nursing homes across the city, accounting for 14% of presumed and confirmed deaths in the city.
Bronx nursing homes lost 732 lives, and Brooklyn lost 785 at long-term care facilities.
"Nursing homes we said from day one are the most vulnerable because its old people, senior people who are the vulnerable population in a congregant setting and that is how this nation was introduced to the virus with the Seattle nursing home,” says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
When coronavirus began to take the lives of seniors in homes at a rapid pace, Gov. Cuomo in late April called for an investigation into how these facilities were handling protecting its residents from the virus. However, a recent Associated Press count found more than 4,300 patients recovering from COVID-19 were sent to New York nursing homes, and that it was all possible under a state order in late March.

These facilities aren't taking them at all now, but now senate Republicans are calling for an independent investigation into the governor and his administration for allowing COVID-19 positive seniors into nursing homes.
A letter put out by Republicans in Albany reads, "From the beginning of this pandemic, the Governor and Commissioner of Health have acknowledged nursing homes as Ground Zero for COVID-19. Yet, little has been done to protect the vulnerable residents living in these facilities. Senator Pam Helming.”
Ginalisa Monterroso is the CEO of Connect Care advisory Group in Manhattan, which assists the elderly and disabled in preparing for long-term care. She's says she is not shocked by what this pandemic has done to the most vulnerable.
"In a perfect nursing home, if your infection control is up to par, you are able to separate the COVID patients from the non-COVID patients...but if your infection control is not up to par, which I am pretty sure it wasn't which is why it ran so rampant with in the nursing home,” says Monterroso.
Nursing homes are now required to test staff twice a week for COVID-19 and provide ample personal protective equipment. And the city is also stepping in to provide on-site testing at these facilities and help with staffing shortages and infection control.
But to prepare these long-term care facilities in the future, a recently passed bill in both chambers in Albany put forward by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol would ensure nursing homes aren't blindsided like this ever again.
The legislation states, nursing homes would have to submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the commissioner of health within 90 days. It would include ensuring two-month supply of PPE, communicating with family on how the resident is doing, protecting staff and residents from infections and making sure residents who were in the hospital and sick are cleared of infection before returning to the facility.
However, for the immediate future, experts say it's waiting and seeing what more the city and the future will do to continue protecting the most vulnerable loved ones.


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