NEW YORK, NEW YORK – August 25, 2020 – According to an online news report published on ny1.com, the U.S. Justice Department stated that their investigators had asked the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan for data regarding nursing home resident COVID-19 fatalities in their states.
Justice Department’s memo pertains to the suspect March 25, 2020, COVID-19 directive that was issued by New York State’s Health Department. The New York State Health Department’s COVID-19 directive stated that no nursing home resident could not be denied admission or re-admission into a New York nursing home wholly based on a suspected or confirmed coronavirus diagnosis. The directive also stated that New York nursing homes are banned from ordering a recently hospitalized resident and who is ascertained to be medically stable to be tested for the coronavirus before being allowed back at the nursing home.
This New York State Health Department’s COVID-19 order permitted nursing home residents in New York, who tested positive for coronavirus, to be admitted or re-admitted back into a New York nursing home. This directive was reversed eventually reversed on April 29, 2020. In July, the New York Health Department circulated its own report about the March 25, 2020 coronavirus order. The report states the March 25 nursing home directive was not the reason why over 6,000 New York nursing home residents died from the coronavirus. The report alleges that asymptomatic nursing home staff infected the nursing homes leading to the death of more than 6,000 nursing home residents. However, asymptomatic staff continued to work inside the nursing homes until the end of April.
Governor Cuomo stated that the CDC was the first to issue the direction that permitted COVID-19 patients to be admitted or re-admitted into nursing homes.
Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division, stated that one of the county’s most important obligations is to protect the rights of our society’s elderly and most vulnerable citizens.
The U.S. Justice Department’s memo cites the CDC’s claims that New York State has the greatest number of coronavirus deaths in the United States, and many of those who died who were elderly, according to the CDC. The New York Legislature conducted a hearing to look at the issue of the state’s nursing home resident COVID-19 deaths. Representatives for the New York Health Department failed to provide an accurate number of nursing home resident COVID-19 deaths.
According to the news report, the Justice Department is only inquiring about information regarding nursing home resident COVID-19 deaths occurring at state run facilities.
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is deciding whether or not to open an investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). The CRIPA act is a federal act that protects the civil rights of nursing home residents who are admitted to state-run facilities. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will be deciding if there is evidence proving the state’s order to permit COVID-19 positive nursing home residents back into state-run nursing home facilities was responsible for coronavirus deaths at these facilities.
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