TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Front-line employees at the Diamond Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center are holding a silent vigil Thursday to express grief and concerns. It’s scheduled for 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Diamond Hill, on New Turnpike Road.
This as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues defending the controversial decision to send COVID-positive patients to nursing homes.
Besides a years-long struggle to negotiate a contract including equitable standards that raise wages and benefits, workers say they have faced enormous mangement challenges during the pandemic:
- Lack of personal protective equipment
- Lack of training on the use of PPE
- Poor infection control
- Failure to isolate COVID-positive patients
- Refusal to recognize healthcare worker sacrifices
- Ending “hero/crisis” pay benefits
Diamond Hill emerged as an ongoing coronavirus hotspot in Rensselaer County, with 18 of the county’s 29 total deaths taking place there. A recent ProPublica article on Cuomo’s recurring nursing home scandal says, “By June, eighteen of Diamond Hill’s residents had died from the virus and 58 had been infected. At least 50 of the facility’s more than 100 workers had also been sickened with COVID-19.”
Workers will participate in the demonstration on their own time, while on break or if it’s a day off. They will maintain social distancing recommendations during the completely quiet demonstration. 1199SEIU, the health care union representing Diamond Hill staff, says the nursing home workers are exhausted and fed up, and the vigil will be solemn. There will be no chanting.