New York allowed coronavirus-infected nurses to work in nursing homes, a new report published Wednesday by the New York Post suggests.
State officials allegedly signed off on allowing nurses who tested positive for the novel coronavirus to volunteer at Hornell Gardens nursing home in upstate New York. Despite protests from local officials in Steuben County, state officials signed off on allowing nurses still recovering from the virus to work in nursing homes, according to the New York Post. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan.21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)
Jack Wheeler, the county’s top official, said that Steuben County representatives were excluded from the decision-making process and the state made the decision to send asymptomatic nurses to the homes.
“[T]he County was not permitted on a planning call [on April 10] with DOH and the facility owner for mitigation and response,” Wheeler wrote in a memo, according to the Post. “We learn that DOH will allow positive-asymptomatic staff to work with COVID-positive patients only. We raise our concerns and objections.”
The Post reported that the nurses were only supposed to treat nursing home patients who had tested positive for coronavirus, but the disease rapidly spread throughout the home, killing 15 residents.
“At least 15 people have died at the Hornell Gardens nursing home in the tiny town of Hornell since the outbreak, according to county tallies,” the report said. “State records show just seven deaths across the county and include no data about this home.”
Nursing homes have become petri dishes for coronavirus given the number of high-risk individuals who live in the residences. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statewide mandate barring nursing homes from rejecting coronavirus patients.
After Cuomo declared that nursing homes have “no right” to turn away coronavirus patients, a group of coronavirus-stricken patients were admitted to a Queens nursing home, along with body bags, according to the New York Post. Thirty residents have since died at that nursing home.