Nursing Homes Must Now Test Staff Twice A Week

Taylor K. Vecsey
Peconic Landing in Greenport.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday additional measures to protect the most vulnerable population, those in nursing homes, from the spread of COVID-19.

“This is where this virus feeds. It’s where this virus started when it started in the State of Washington,” he said.

All of the staff at nursing homes throughout the state must be tested for the coronavirus twice a week. “That is just not a temperature check, that is a diagnostic test,” he said. “That is a rule— that is not an, ‘I’d appreciate it if you did.'”

Going forward, hospitals can not discharge a patient to a nursing home unless that patient has tested negative for COVID-19, the Governor announced. “We have alternative facilities for nursing home patients, COVID or non-COVID,” he said, noting the state created 40,000 additional hospital beds and COVID-only facilities that can accept nursing home residents.

If a nursing home operator does not follow these procedures, it will lose its state license.

One of the conditions of a nursing home license has always been that if it cannot provide the level of care a patient requires for any reason it must transfer the person out of the facility.

Nursing homes across the country have grappled with the virus. New York has one of the highest populations of nursing home residents in any state — more than 100,000. The governor, however, provided some context in terms of the percentage of deaths in nursing homes, it ranks 34th highest of any of state.

At the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitations and Nursing in Southampton, five people have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, while 14 people’s death is presumed to be from COVID-19, according to data updated on May 9. There have now been 12 confirmed COVID-related deaths at the Westhampton Care Center, up one from earlier this week.

At Peconic Landing’s nursing facility in Greenport, six deaths were confirmed and three were presumed to be from COVID. The Peconic Bay Skilled Nursing Facility in Riverhead now has had 15 residents confirmed to have died from COVID, also up one from earlier this week.

Cuomo Suspects Corporate Greed

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suspects corporate America will attempt to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a money making opportunity – and stick the working class in the process.

And he wants to pass a law to stop it before it begins.

He says the strategy is already known anecdotally because corporate insiders have been saying as much to analysts and investors. “You will see corporations laying off workers but not rehire all of them,” he said.

Cuomo fears this strategy, what he called “Lean and Mean,” will eliminate jobs permanently and make it that much harder for the country – and New York – to recover.

He has proposed the “America First Law” which states that to be eligible for federal assistance a company must “rehire the same number of employees you had” before the virus shutdown. Under his plan, those that don’t will not be eligible to receive federal money and have to give back what they have already taken.

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