Story at a glance

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has not included nursing home patients who died from COVID-19 after being transferred to the hospital in its total of more than 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report.
  • The state attorney general’s investigation included a survey of 62 state nursing homes, 10 percent of total facilities in the state, regarding onsite and in-hospital deaths from COVID-19.
  • The survey found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to investigators and the official tally from the state health department.

A new report says New York state undercounted coronavirus-related deaths among nursing home patients by as much as 50 percent.

A 76-page report released Thursday by New York Attorney General Letitia James found a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published data show. 


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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has not included nursing home patients who died from COVID-19 after being transferred to the hospital in its total of more than 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. 

The attorney general’s investigation included a survey of 62 state nursing homes, 10 percent of total facilities in the state, regarding onsite and in-hospital deaths from COVID-19. The survey found consistent discrepancies between deaths reported to investigators and the official tally from the state health department. 

At one facility, 11 onsite deaths were reported by the health department, while the attorney general’s survey found 27 deaths happened onsite and 13 in hospitals. 

“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement

“While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents. Nursing home residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments,” she said. 

In addition to the undercounting of deaths, the months-long investigation found the nursing homes’ lack of compliance with infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm, and facilities with less staffing had higher COVID-19 fatality rates. 

Some facilities also failed to properly isolate infected residents or screen or test employees for the virus. 

The attorney general is continuing to investigate more than 20 nursing homes where reported conduct “presented particular concern.” 


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Published on Jan 28, 2021