ALBANY NY (WRGB) - There's a new State Health Department report on COVID-19 in nursing homes released Monday. The Department's Commissioner saying, nursing home staff introduced COVID-19 into the homes.
The controversial March 25th policy issued by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allowing COVID-19 positive residents to be admitted to nursing homes was not a likely reason for the spread of the virus according to this new report - instead, State officials say infected workers were responsible for it.
The findings, presented Monday by State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, who was not joined by Governor Cuomo. Doctor Zucker said although peak staff infections correlates with peak nursing home resident deaths, this is not placing blame on nursing home staff - as the report also found employee infections align with rates in highly impacted areas of New York State.
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To that admissions policy, the report also says more than 6,400 COVID-positive residents were admitted to facilities between March 25th and May 8th, but an analysis shows - that could not have been the driver of infections, or deaths.
There was also a surprising finding.
"We analyzed whether nursing homes that had a lower quality rating over the past several years had a higher death rate than nursing homes with a record of higher star ratings. In fact, in fact, the mortality rate was higher in 5-star rated facilities," said Dr. Howard Zucker.
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CBS 6 has been speaking to families calling for nursing home visits to be allowed again - no guidance on that yet, but this report found a high likelihood that COVID-positive visitors entered nursing homes, although there is no specific data to support this. Visitation has been suspended, since March 13th.