Coronavirus NYC: Family Demands Response After Declaring Nursing Homes COVID-19 Figures Underreported


WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) – Toribio Garcia, Sr. was 62 years old. He was a vegetarian and an avid runner. However, after a recent tracheostomy, he was transferred to the Isabella Geriatric Center in Washington Heights to remove him from patients with COVID-19. He was there to rehabilitate until he was strong enough to go home. Just over a week later, he died alone.

“We put him through a tracheostomy because we knew he would last longer with that. Nine days are not what we expected. Nine days are not enough. It was supposed to be temporary, and they failed us, “said her daughter, Xiomara. Garcia-King.

Garcia-King said that during those nine days, his father would have pressed the call bell, but no one would come to see him.

He was having trouble breathing and couldn’t speak because of the operation, so he texted or showed notes to his family during the video chats.

On March 26, he faced his daughter FaceTimed and showed her a note saying, “I need help. “

Not even three hours later, the nursing home called him to tell him that he had not answered. He never got to the hospital.

“On April 14, I came here because my community informed me that there was a freezer to store the dead next door. So I came and took pictures of it. After which I had a conversation with the board of directors, pleading with them and urging them to be transparent with the community and the families of the elderly in this establishment. They refused to do so, “said Congressman Adriano Espaillat.

As of Friday, Isabella has reported 13 COVID-19 deaths. However, after questions have emerged about the true number, he now reports that the presumed number of deaths is 98 – the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single nursing home in the city.

Governor Cuomo promises to be accountable, saying that if the numbers were intentionally misrepresented, it will be a case of criminal fraud.

A spokesperson for a nursing home said it had communicated truthful and accurate data to the health department.

He denies having kept families informed of the changing conditions of their loved one, and says his staff have reached out to allow families to say their last goodbyes.

Garcia-King says he was never told that Isabella even had COVID-19 cases. She does not know if her father even died of COVID-19.


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