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Republican lawmakers call for investigation into nursing home pandemic handling

Republican state lawmakers are calling for an independent third-party investigation into nursing home deaths across New York amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, was critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic in state’s nursing homes.

“Our efforts on the front lines of this nursing home crisis and tragic loss of lives in regional nursing homes, particularly at Hornell Gardens in Steuben County, helped recently lead to an important shift in state policy that now prevents nursing home employees who tested positive for COVID-19 from returning to work for two weeks,” he said.

“Working as a team with Hornell Mayor Buckley, County Manager Wheeler, the entire Steuben County Health Department, and all of the local officials and health care providers working around the clock on the COVID-19 response, I can attest to our collective frustration with the response of the Cuomo administration to taking control of our nursing home hot spots. We repeatedly called for aggressive and decisive actions by the state Health Department to test, isolate, and prevent spread. I believe an independent investigation into this particular aspect of New York ’s COVID-19 response is warranted and necessary for the families who have lost loved ones, the caregivers putting themselves at risk, and to ensure better and safer policies moving forward.”

A recent state report showed that around 5,000 people have died in nursing homes from COVID-19. Numbers have been slow to be released over the last several weeks, even as calls for access to that information continued to grow.