April 23, 2020
Albany, NY

Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces State Health Department Will Partner with Attorney General James to Investigate Nursing Home Violations

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Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the State Department of Health is partnering with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate nursing homes who violate Executive Orders requiring these facilities to communicate COVID-19 test results and deaths to residents' families.

 

The Governor also announced a new directive requiring nursing homes to immediately report to DOH the actions they have taken to comply with all DOH and CDC laws, regulations, directives and guidance. DOH will inspect facilities that have not complied with these directives, including separation and isolation policies, staffing policies and inadequate personal protective equipment, and if DOH determines that the facilities failed to comply with the directives and guidance, DOH will immediately require the facility to submit an action plan. Facilities could be fined $10,000 per violation or potentially lose their operating license.

 

 

 

 

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The Governor previously issued Executive Orders and the Health Department and CDC have issued guidance requiring nursing homes to provide personal protective equipment and temperature checks for staff; isolate COVID residents in quarantine; separate staff and transfer COVID residents within a facility to another long-term care facility or to another non-certified location; notify all residents and their family members within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for COVID or if any resident suffers a COVID related death; and readmit COVID positive residents only if they have the ability to provide adequate level of care under DOH and CDC guidelines.

 

Additionally, Governor Cuomo and Attorney General James announced New York State will increase staffing through the New York state professional staffing portal and expand training and technical assistance for nursing homes to use the professional staffing portal. The State will also continue to provide PPE to these facilities on an emergency basis, and families of nursing home residents who are concerned about the care they are getting can file complaints by calling 833-249-8499 or by visiting www.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.

Nursing homes have been our top priority since day one, and the state has put in place very strict rules and regulations during this crisis to protect and support both vulnerable residents and frontline workers in these facilities.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo also announced the preliminary results of phase one of the state's antibody testing survey. The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 3,000 people at grocery stores and other box stores over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across the state. The preliminary results show 13.9 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies and are now immune to the virus.

 

The Governor also announced a new initiative to ramp up testing in African-American and Latino communities by using churches and places of worship in those communities as a network or possible testing sites. The Governor will partner with Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Representative Yvette Clarke and Representative Nydia Velázquez on this initiative.

 

The Governor also announced expanded COVID-19 diagnostic testing for residents of public housing in New York City is beginning today. The Governor previously announced the new partnership with Ready Responders to ramp up testing at NYCHA facilities.

 

The Governor also announced that New York State will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care costs will be covered with $30 million in federal CARES Act funding for essential staff whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level - or $78,600 for a family of four - and will be paid at market rate for each region statewide. Essential workers can use the funding to pay for their existing care arrangement. If an essential worker needs child care, they can contact their local child care resource and referral agency to find openings.

Governor Cuomo Announces State Health Department Will Partner with Attorney General James to Investigate Nursing Home Violations

The Governor also announced the CARES funding will also be used to purchase supplies for child care providers statewide who remain open, including masks, gloves, diapers, baby wipes, baby formula and food. Child care resource and referral agencies will receive grants totaling approximately $600 per provider. Providers looking for supplies should contact their local child care resource and referral agency.

 

"Nursing homes have been our top priority since day one, and the state has put in place very strict rules and regulations during this crisis to protect and support both vulnerable residents and frontline workers in these facilities," Governor Cuomo said. "These facilities have become the optimum feeding ground for the virus, and the State Department of Health is going to partner with Attorney General Letitia James to ensure nursing homes are following the rules we've put in place and properly caring for and protecting our seniors as we continue to fight this virus."

 

"We recognize that the most vulnerable New Yorkers are continuing to suffer through this crisis at nursing homes across the state," said Attorney General James. "While our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit continues to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in the system, we launched a hotline where residents, families, or members of the public can share complaints about nursing homes that have not provided required communications with families about COVID-19 diagnosis or fatalities. The hotline will also accept complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, including failure to follow rules to keep residents safe. Every nursing home should be provided with adequate PPE and testing, and enhanced infection control protocols must be implemented to protect residents. I am grateful to the workers in our nursing homes who continue to serve and support our vulnerable residents. These workers deserve our respect and must also be tested and protected during this time. My office will continue to work hard to protect nursing homes residents and make sure their rights are preserved during this crisis and beyond."

 

Finally, the Governor confirmed 6,244 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 263,460 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 263,460 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

 

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

758

21

Allegany

30

0

Broome

224

5

Cattaraugus

37

0

Cayuga

37

1

Chautauqua

26

0

Chemung

76

1

Chenango

82

3

Clinton

52

1

Columbia

123

6

Cortland

25

0

Delaware

50

0

Dutchess

2460

69

Erie

2450

217

Essex

22

0

Franklin

13

0

Fulton

28

0

Genesee

126

4

Greene

89

2

Hamilton

3

0

Herkimer

54

1

Jefferson

56

2

Lewis

9

0

Livingston

41

2

Madison

106

0

Monroe

1,152

40

Montgomery

39

1

Nassau

32,124

569

Niagara

295

27

NYC

145,855

3,423

Oneida

317

16

Onondaga

600

74

Ontario

73

0

Orange

6,816

126

Orleans

59

3

Oswego

49

0

Otsego

50

1

Putnam

615

4

Rensselaer

191

5

Rockland

9,828

129

Saratoga

265

1

Schenectady

288

8

Schoharie

21

1

Schuyler

7

0

Seneca

18

0

St. Lawrence

139

16

Steuben

171

0

Suffolk

29,567

713

Sullivan

580

19

Tioga

40

1

Tompkins

119

0

Ulster

942

29

Warren

119

11

Washington

80

7

Wayne

53

1

Westchester

25,959

683

Wyoming

41

1

Yates

11

0

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Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office