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Lawmakers call for commission on nursing home death toll in New York

There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus. Particularly, in nursing homes, where death counts are still a murky, foggy subject in Albany.

Even after hearings were held, state officials have yet to pin-down how many have died in nursing homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a group of lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle are working to create an independent commission to investigate, and hopefully get answers from the state’s Department of Health.

State Senator Jim Tedisco, a Republican, announced an online petition last week to build public support for the commission. He wasn’t satisfied with the hearings at the start of August.

“We can’t have the right plan in place if we don’t have the answers, exactly, to what took place in our nursing homes and hospitals when our individual most vulnerable population got sick with Covid,” said Tedisco.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, supports the bill and is seeking information from an early-pandemic directive that preventing nursing homes from refusing people who had the virus. At the center of this part of the concern is whether hospital patients were transported to nursing homes, allowing greater spread of the virus inside those facilities.

It’s unclear if this new push will result in a commission being formed.

A pair of nursing home’s in Ontario County have been at the center of an investigative series by Both Elm Manor and Ontario Center have been subjected to critical questions from journalists and the community about handling of individual cases connected to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, many of those cases also connect to overall care at these facilities – before, during, and after the pandemic.