New York Nursing Homes Have Viruses

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The list was far from complete. It was based on a state investigation asking for details. Nursing homes had until 2 p.m. Thursday to respond.

“We only know what they are telling us,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Connecticut released a similar list Thursday, reporting that eight nursing homes had at least 10 residents dead.

As of Tuesday, at least 2,477 patients in nursing homes have been killed by the virus in New York, according to state figures. This represents about one in five deaths from the virus in the state. In Connecticut, residents of nursing homes are responsible for 375 of the 971 deaths from the virus in the state.

Until this week, officials from several states had refused to identify nursing homes with deadly epidemics, saying patients deserved to be kept private or citing challenges to determine if some extremely fragile patients had died of virus or other causes.

Many nursing home administrators have also refused to release information, prompting New York City governor Andrew Cuomo to state this week that the state would begin requiring facilities to inform patients and their families in 24 hours if a resident contracts the virus or dies.

Some nursing homes have voluntarily released information that differs from state figures released Friday.

The state investigation found 10 deaths at the Montgomery Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, about 80 km north of New York, but the facility’s vice president, Vincent Maniscalco, told the Associated Press that 21 residents had died recently. According to him, eight of these patients presented symptoms compatible with the virus, but died before the test.

“It was a very trying time for staff to lose residents they care for day after day,” said Maniscalco.

With visitors banned from nursing homes to try to prevent infection, many of these patients died with only facility workers to comfort them.

“When someone dies, they celebrate the life of a resident,” said Maniscalco.

Nursing homes have been known since the early days of the epidemic as a potential problem. A Washington state home lost 43 residents when the virus spread throughout the country.

Yet even with this early warning, many nursing homes remained without an adequate supply of personal protective equipment. The tests for residents and staff remain uneven at best.

In mid-March, federal authorities banned visitors, halted group activities and ordered mandatory screening of workers for respiratory symptoms, but by that time the virus had spread widely.

Outbreaks have killed 45 people in a nursing home on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, and 22 in a home in central Indiana. County officials in northern New Jersey said on Thursday that at least 26 patients had died in a nursing home in Andover.

A report from the AP found that infections continued to spread in nursing homes because screening staff for fever or asking about symptoms did not catch infected people, but asymptomatic people.

Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press



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