Governor Cuomo’s Top Aide Admits Withholding Nursing Home Data Amid DOJ Inquiry

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide acknowledged that COVID-19 data on nursing homes was withheld from release when they feared it could be “used against us” by the Department of Justice under then-President Donald Trump.

Now a growing number of bi-partisan lawmakers are calling on the legislature to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers that allow him to impose rules and restrictions during the pandemic. On Friday, 14 Senate Democrats signed onto a joint statement calling on the Legislature to rescind Cuomo’s emergency powers.

Only a few weeks ago, it was reported that about 9,150 people had died in long-term care facilities in New York of COVID-19. After a report issued by the NY Attorney General Letitia James and a successful lawsuit that revealed more data, New York had 14,958 confirmed deaths that included long-term care residents who had died in hospitals.

Of the total confirmed and presumed deaths in long-term care facilities, 13,218 were in nursing homes, 794 were in assisted living and 946 were in other adult-care facilities.

The factors are myriad, James’ report found, such as inadequate equipment and staff, lack of safety protocols to properly segregate infected resident and workers being implored to come to work even if they tested positive for COVID.

Cuomo was also knocked for a late March order that let hospitals return patients with COVID to the nursing homes, a measure that was reversed in May, but one that James’ report found followed federal guidelines.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has argued in recent weeks that even with deaths at hospitals counted as nursing home deaths, New York still ranked below the national average of about 35%. 

More sourcing here at USA Today.