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Big questions loom around testing, positive cases of COVID-19 at nursing homes around New York

The New York State Department of Health is not releasing information about the number of positive coronavirus cases and related deaths at individual nursing homes across the state.

That has some advocates and residents concerned.

“The nursing home is in many ways where they live,” Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. “It’s not like when you go into a hospital and then you can leave the hospital, so we try to protect their privacy a little bit more but we do track and if there’s a case there or if there’s a concern there, we go in and investigate it immediately.”

As of Tuesday there were more than 3,800 positive cases across the state at nearly half of New York’s licensed nursing homes. More than 1,000 nursing home residents have died.

“They’re afraid of setting off a panic because, let’s face it, the testing is hard to come by, so if one nursing home proactively tests and discovers a problem, they don’t want it to seem as though that’s the only nursing home with the problems because the other ones just weren’t able to test,” Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo told Spectrum News. “The last thing we want to do is start clamping down on information because then when the information does come out it gives the false impression that, you know, it’s only happening in one place or it’s somehow isolated to certain areas.”

Another question: How frequently are those inside nursing home’s being tested? There has been some debate and concern around this notion, which was highlighted in a recent episode of the Daily Debrief.



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