During a press conference Wednesday, Finger Lakes News Radio asked Cuomo about his administration’s opinion in late March which required nursing homes to accept readmissions from hospitals, even if they were positive for Covid-19.
Cuomo argued the warning was a precaution if hospitals were overwhelmed – calling it an “anticipatory rule” – which he said didn’t happen.
“We never needed nursing home beds because we always had hospital beds,” Cuomo told Finger Lakes News. “So it never happened in New York, where we needed to say to a nursing home, ‘We need you to take this person even if it’s Covid-positive.’ It never happened.”
On March 25, the State Department of Health issued a notice requiring nursing homes to accept “expedited acceptance of returning residents from hospitals” if patients are deemed clinically stable.
“No resident will be denied readmission or admission to the [nursing home] based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19, “the warning said.”[Nursing homes] It is prohibited to require a hospitalized resident who is considered medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to hospitalization or readmission. “
This warrant received much criticism, and Cuomo issued an executive order amending the notice on May 10 requiring hospitals to make sure patients tested negative before discharging them into nursing homes.
On May 21, the Associated Press reported that “more than 4,500 patients recovering from the coronavirus have been sent to the already vulnerable New York nursing homes” under state council.
In July, the state Department of Health released a report that found that “approximately 6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to the facilities between March 25, 2020 and May 8, 2020.”
There has been much discussion about how and whether this warning contributed to the significant coronavirus death toll observed in New York nursing homes. The State Department of Health’s July report argued that the warning “could not be a factor in infections or deaths in nursing homes,” although many experts disagree, noting that the report’s conclusion is based on timing. of cases and mortality, not, as the report acknowledges, on tracing the contacts of patients, staff or family members.
CNN reached out to the governor and the State Department of Health for comment.