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NY undercounted nursing home deaths by thousands, AG says

Letitia James
Posted at 4:02 PM, Jan 28, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York may have undercounted COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents by thousands.

That's according to a new report from the state attorney general that dealt a blow to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's claims that his state is doing better than others in protecting its most vulnerable.

Based on the findings and subsequent investigation, Attorney General Letitia James would conduct ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes that reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern.

“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, we must understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” said Attorney General James in a press release. “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. Nuhome homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time.”

According to the report, James' investigators looked at 62 of the state’s roughly 600 nursing homes. The report concluded that 1,914 residents died from COVID-19, but the state Department of Health reported only 1,229 deaths.

Based on a limited number of homes, the report concluded the actual count could be 56% higher, backing up the findings of an Associated Press investigation last year.

If that pattern holds, the official 8,711 nursing home toll could be more than 13,000, the highest in the nation.