O’Mara renews call for an independent investigation into NY’s COVID-19 nursing home crisis

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HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – Thursday, New York State Senator Tom O’Mara renewed his call for an independent investigation into the COVID-19 crisis he said is continuing to unfold within state-regulated nursing homes.

The state senator addressed the issue at a press conference Thursday afternoon around the reopening of the Southern Tier in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

O’Mara’s office released the flowing details around the investigation.

Until last week, state policy allowed COVID-positive nursing home employees to continue reporting to work as long as they did not display symptoms. Another now-revised state Department of Health (DOH) directive forced nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients. Questions have also been raised over whether nursing home staffs were provided adequate personal protective equipment in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some nursing home operators are now saying they can’t comply with the latest state directive to test employees for COVID-19 twice a week.

Overall, the Cuomo administration continues to come under criticism for the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes, where, according to recent state reporting, deaths now total nearly 5,000.

While an investigation has been launched by the state’s Attorney General and the DOH, O’Mara and legislative colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, question the independence of that investigation since DOH is directly involved in creating the directives being questioned.

In addition to an independent investigation, Senate Republicans also recently called for an immediate change in policy to create regionally based specialty long-term care facilities for COVID-19 positive nursing home residents.

NYS SENATOR TOM O’MARA
58TH SENATE DISTRICT

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