Local families searching for answers amid NYS nursing home scandal

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Lawmakers continue to investigate the New York State nursing home scandal and families are still searching for answers. On Friday, Governor Cuomo took some responsibility, saying the state did not get the numbers out fast enough. He quickly shifted much of the blame to misinformation and political theories.

Questions are still left unanswered for many New Yorkers after their loved ones died from contracting COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Who decides the protocol and who is enforcing it? It is a joint local, state and federal effort, but this process is confusing.

Governor Cuomo blames the Trump Administration and CDC saying, “They coincidentally leave out that the March 25 order was done after guidance from Trump’s CDC and CMS.”

Assemblymember Palmesano says this is untrue and that the State Department of Health creates and implements the protocol. County Public Health officials enforce these state mandates and if the facility is privately owned, there could be additional protocol created by the independent company.

For Deloris Cass, she is still confused after her son, Robert, passed away in November after contracting the virus in an Elcor Facility. Robert was moved from his private room where he was quarantined to a different wing of the facility. He tested negative after the move but started showing symptoms.

“He had a slight fever. It sounded like it was some symptoms,” Cass said. “We asked and they said well we needed to move the negative away from the positive, but he was quarantined in his room.”

After he died, it was determined he had COVID-19. Now the family is asking why.

“Once he was moved and a week later he’s gone… it just sounds kind of weird,” Cass added.

Governor Cuomo is blaming the federal government, but Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss says it is the state’s responsibility.

New York State Department of Health will send down guidelines as to how they want things operated. Everything from visitation to testing to vaccination for patients at these assisted living facilities and nursing facilities,” Moss said.

18 News reached out to Elcor for comment, but have not heard back. Cass does not wish this pain on other family’s but she continues to search for a reason why her son was moved from his quarantined room.

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