Orders by the three states that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic have put the state’s most vulnerable people at risk of contracting COVID-19.
As reported by NBC News on Saturday, New York, New Jersey and California have “ordered nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to accept coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals,” even if they “still might be contagious.”
“The policy, intended to help clear in-demand hospital beds for sicker patients, has prompted sharp criticism from the nursing home industry, staff members and concerned families, as well as some leading public health experts,” NBC News reports.
As the New York Post reported Thursday, an executive at a New York nursing home in Queens that had been free of the virus says the facility first became aware of the state mandate when they received two discharged coronavirus-positive patients who were in need of care, and potentially still contagious. Along with the patients, the facility received five body bags.
“An executive at the facility — which was previously free of the deadly disease — said the bags were in the shipment of personal protective equipment received the same day the home was forced to begin treating two people discharged from hospitals with COVID-19,” the Post reported.
“Within days, three of the bags were filled with the first of 30 residents who would die there after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Health Department handed down its March 25 directive that bars nursing homes from refusing to admit ‘medically stable’ coronavirus patients,” the Post reported, citing the executive.
Since, the facility has admitted a total of 17 coronavirus-positive patients from nearby facilities, the executive explained. While the patients that they admitted have done well, other residents have died. The facility is still waiting for test results to determine if COVID-19 was involved with some of the deaths, but the executive is certain that it was.
“Cuomo has blood on his hands. He really does. There’s no way to sugarcoat this,” the executive told the Post. “Why in the world would you be sending coronavirus patients to a nursing home, where the most vulnerable population to this disease resides?”
As The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow noted, it’s not just that one nursing home in New York which has been forced to admit “medically stable” COVID-19-positive patients. “A nursing facility in Manhattan confirmed the Queens executive’s situation, saying they also receive weekly shipments of body bags and added that the state mandate included no warning or time to prepare for accepting coronavirus patients,” Schow reported Sunday.
Harvard Medical School’s David Grabowski, a health policy professor, echoed the Queens’ facility executive’s pushback on the state’s order. “Nursing homes are working so hard to keep the virus out, and now we’re going to be introducing new COVID-positive patients?” said Grabowski, as reported by NBC.
The professor suggested that states should create coronavirus patient-only facilities for those recovering from the disease, pointing out that very few facilities exist that can safely handle recovering COVID-19-positive patients.
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