UPDATE: Governor learns of multiple deaths at Hornell nurse homes during Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing


ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo learned about the multiple COVID-19 related deaths at nursing homes in the Hornell area. During the questions portion of his daily coronavirus briefing, Gov. Cuomo was asked about it.

See the exchange in the following report,

HORNELL, N.Y. (WETM) – Hornell Gardens has begun the process of moving 20 residents who tested negative for COVID-19 to a facility in Waterloo, according to Hornell Mayor John Buckley.

The facility began moving residents on Wednesday and continued on Thursday through different means of transportation, depending on the individual resident’s needs.

Hornell Gardens has had at least six confirmed deaths related to COVID-19, though there are several other cases in the Hornell area that have not yet been officially connected to Hornell Gardens.

Buckley says there are about 26 residents still in Hornell Gardens who have tested positive for the virus, as well as over 20 employees who are positive for the virus.

Hornell Gardens, which is operated by Hurlbut Care Communities, issued the following statement to 18 News.

Hornell Gardens was the first nursing home in Steuben County to receive proactive testing by the Steuben County Department of Health, even before the county’s own facilities. All staff and residents at the facility were tested to ensure all potentially pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases were identified before additional transmission could occur. The majority of cases detected as part of this rapid testing were asymptomatic.

We thank all those assisting in a coordinated effort to address the needs of seniors across the counties we operate. Their efforts, and that of all our healthcare heroes, working tirelessly day and night, assures us that we can overcome this crisis together.

There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of our entire Hurlbut family. Preventing the spread of the virus has, and continues to be, our top priority. To help keep families as informed as possible, we are sharing regular updates when new information becomes available. We are doing everything within our power to protect residents and team members including working around the clock to identify and secure PPE (masks, shields, gowns and gloves) to keep our team and residents safe while providing care.

In addition, we will continue to implement the following across our facilities:

In compliance with the NYSDOH, all outside visitors have been restricted from entering since early March.

Limited access to our buildings and required screening of anyone who enters, including all staff.

Screening includes a temperature check and completion of a NYSDOH questionnaire about risk factors, as per NYSDOH requirement.

If employees show symptoms of illness, they are sent home and encouraged to used sick time or other time-off as appropriate, based on individual employment agreements.
Human resource team members are available and prepared to confidentially address employee concerns.

All residents, at a minimum, are screened daily for signs and symptoms of the virus.

We are providing access to virtual visits for families via Zoom and Skype.

Following the CDC and NYSDOH guidelines, our staff are implementing the appropriate isolation procedures for any resident with a new onset of respiratory symptoms and any confirmed COVID-19 individuals.

Resident family members are encouraged to call the administrator at their facility if they need assistance or further information.

-Hurlbut Care Communities

Hurlbut Cares Communities’ CEO Robert Hurlbut told 18 News that their facility is low on personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

Hornell Gardens employs about 90 staff members, including part-time staff, according to Buckley.

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