By Jessica Easthope
The coronavirus is especially dangerous to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, yet it infiltrated the very places where the most vulnerable live.
“The Governor basically forced this issue and forced these patients onto those nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and he’s now trying to blame President Trump to say we were following federal guidelines and CDC directives,” said Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who is calling for an independent investigation into nursing home deaths.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly defended a state directive that has since been scrapped, ordering nursing homes to take in and readmit recovering COVID-19 patients. Most recently Governor Cuomo said the state was only following CDC requirements, a decision Councilman Ulrich said left thousands unprotected.
“The Governor forcing people who have tests positive for COVID be placed back in nursing homes was a deadly decision and one that no doubt in my mind resulted in the deaths of thousands of New Yorkers,” Councilman Ulrich said. “That’s why I’m calling for an investigation at the city level, because I don’t expect one to come from the state level.”
In New York State more than 4,500 recovering COVID-19 patients were sent to nursing homes before testing negative. Nearly 3,100 nursing home residents have died.
The previous Cuomo directive disturbed elected officials across the political divide.
“The moment they knew asymptomatic people can carry and transmit the virus was the moment they had to do more than adhere to inadequate CDC guidance,” said Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger.
Many nursing homes objected to the directive. Providers said they were never told they could transfer a patient who could not be properly cared for.
“He left people vulnerable to be like sitting ducks and they had nowhere to go and so many people needlessly died because of the Governor’s bad decision,” said Councilman Ulrich.
Ulrich has requested a hearing with Council Speaker Corey Johnson to launch an investigation into nursing home deaths. Currents News reached out with questions to Johnson and the Governor’s office but have yet to receive a response.