NY Attorney General Letitia James ordered a review of the figures from 62 senior living facilities
New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report Thursday which she ordered to review deaths at nursing home facilities in the state during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, and which revealed that the number of fatalities is significantly higher than first reported.
“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” said Attorney General James in a statement.
The report noted that “COVID-19 resident deaths associated with nursing homes in New York state appear to be undercounted by the Department of Health by approximately 50 percent.”
New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s infamous March 25 mandate, which required facilities to accept COVID-19 patients irrespective of whether they were equipped to deal with them, drew opposition and condemnation at the time of its declaration. Governors and health officials in other states made similar demands on nursing homes with predictable, but arguably preventable outcomes.
As part of the report, James’ investigators surveyed 62 hand-selected nursing home facilities across the state and found that 1,914 residents from those either died there or at nearby hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus or exhibiting symptoms of the deadly disease, reported the New York Post.
That figure was 56 percent higher than the numbers for those facilities published by the state Department of Health, which only published the number of people who died away while still at the nursing homes at the time of their deaths, not those who were subsequently taken to a hospital and then died.
If that undercount is consistent across the entire state — it would push the number of nursing home deaths from the current tally of 8,711 presumed and confirmed coronavirus cases to more than 13,000, according to the Post.
The report places most of the blame for the deaths on low-rated nursing homes, which received the same mandate as higher-rated ones even though they were ill-equipped to properly isolate and care for COVID-positive patients.