Unanswered nursing home questions

Local News

ALBANY, NY – In Albany, many questions remain following yesterday’s legislative hearing on the coronavirus and nursing homes.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on what information some are hoping the state Department of Health will disclose.

Right now the state’s nursing home COVID death count is about 65-hundred people.

But, that count does not include people who contracted COVID in nursing homes, were transferred to a hospital, and later died in the hospital.

State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker was asked yesterday for a ballpark figure of that number.

((Howard Zucker, NYS DOH Commissioner)) This is a serious issue of making sure when it comes to the deaths of individuals in nursing homes, and I am not prepared to give you a specific number.

Zucker said the department was looking at the data and will provide it to lawmakers after he has an “opportunity to piece through” it.

((Bill Ferris, AARP New York State Legislative Representative)) AARP believes and I think many legislators believe that’s crucial information and that was not given out yesterday. And we were hoping that that information would be available.

((Will Barclay, Assembly Minority Leader)) I thought it was an evasive answer. He knew he has to testify. It wouldn’t take anyone really with special intelligence to try to figure out what kinds of questions you’re going to be asked at at this type of hearing.

Zucker said the numbers were counted separately so that deaths wouldn’t be double-counted.
But, Ferris says he doesn’t believe it would be that complicated.

((Bill Ferris, AARP New York State Legislative Representative)) I think the New York State Department of Health can figure out how not to double-count deaths it’s a basic stat that they need to come up with.

Ferris said he’d also hoped there would be more talk of a long-term plan in the future.

Republicans are pushing for the legislative committees to require Commissioner Zucker to testify under subpoena at the next hearing on Monday.

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