Justice Department Continues to Investigate New York’s Nursing Home Outbreaks
NEW YORK – A news article posted on nbcnewyork.com states that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tried to discuss the state’s budget and the coronavirus last Wednesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office stated that their office would not disclose what it said to the U.S. Justice Department concerning the COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes. Governor Cuomo’s office stated that disclosure would be an “invasion of personal privacy.”
In 2020, the U.S. Justice Department ordered the governors of many states, including New York, to hand over specific basic statistics associated with coronavirus infections and deaths inside nursing homes. The federal judicial request was originally made back in August and then later in October. The investigation was initiated following reports by The Associated Press and other news agencies that New York’s official nursing home death rate was probably significantly undercounted.
Governor Cuomo started sending state records to federal investigators last year. However, his office has rejected a request from The Associated Press to obtain copies of those records. In mid-February, Governor Cuomo stated that he “would have no problem with it.”
However, the Records Access Officer stated that releasing the records would “constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The Records Access Officer did not explain how or whose privacy might be invaded. She stated that the public also is not entitled to see the records since the documents were “compiled for law enforcement purposes,” and disclosure could “interfere with law enforcement investigations.” According to New York’s public records statutes, law enforcement agencies may withhold records related to an ongoing criminal investigation.
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